Skip to main content

Full text of "Cicero's Tusculan disputations : also treatises On the nature of the gods, and On the commonwealth"

See other formats















HARPER’S-~ .; 







TACITUS. 2 Vols. 

LIVY. 2Vols. 















12mo, Cloth, $1 00 per Volume. 

(@™ Harper & Broruers will send either of the above works by mail, postage prepatd, to any 
part of the United States or Canada, on receipt of the price. 


THE greater portion of the Republic was previously translated 
by Francis Barham, Esq., and published in 1841. Although ably 
performed, it was not sufficiently close for the purpose of the 
“CLASSICAL LIBRARY,” and was therefore placed in the hands of 
the present editor for revision, as well as for collation with recent 
texts. This has occasioned material alterations and additions. 

The treatise “‘On the Nature of the Gods” is a revision of that 

usually ascribed to the celebrated Benjamin Franklin. 

YS eee ee eer 


NINE FN so dn pon niress pseu peananes cahsgsh vesebicaddbanbacs 7 
i GN IMI OF MM Boo 6 55s ona cues vedo asessecec ontccusssagvecausesnate 209 


iy Pe 



In the year a.v.c. 708, and the sixty-second year of 
Cicero’s age, his daughter, Tullia, died in childbed; and 
her loss afflicted Cicero to such a degree that he aban- 
doned all public business, and, leaving the city, retired to 
Asterra, which was a country house that he had near An- 
tium; where, after a while, he devoted himself to philo- 
sophical studies, and, besides other works, he published 
his Treatise de Finibus, and also this treatise called the 
Tusculan Disputations, of which Middleton gives this con- 
cise description : 

“The first book teaches us how to contemn the terrors 
of death, and to look upon it as a blessing rather than an 

“The second, to support pain and affliction with a man- 
ly fortitude; 

“The third, to appease all our complaints and uneasi- 
nesses under the accidents of life# 

“The fourth, to moderate all our other passions ; 

* And the fifth explains the sufficiency of virtue to make 
men happy.” . 

It was his custom in the opportunities of his leisure to 
take some friends with him into the country, where, in- 
stead of amusing themselves with idle sports or feasts, 
their diversions were wholly speculative, tending to im- 
prove the mind and enlarge the understanding. In this 
manner he now spent five days at his Tusculan’ villa in dis- 
cussing with his friends the several questions just men- 
tioned. For, after employing the mornings in declaiming 
and rhetorical exercises, they used to retire in the after- 


noen into a gallery, called the Academy, which he had 
built for the purpose of philosophical conferences, where, 
after the manner of the Greeks, he held a school, as they 
called it, and invited the company to call for any subject 
that they desired to hear explained, which being proposed 
accordingly by some of the audience became immediately 
the argument of that day’s debate. These five conferences, 
or dialogues, he collected afterward into writing in the 
very words and manner in which they really passed; and 
published them under the title of his Tusculan Disputa- 
tions, from the name of the villa in which they were held. 


I. Ar a time when I had entirely, or to a great degree, 
released myself from my labors as an advocate, and from 
my duties as a senator, I had recourse again, Brutus, prin- 
cipally by your advice, to those studies which never had 
been out of my mind, although neglected at times, and 
which after a long interval I resumed; and now, since the 
principles and rules of all arts which relate to living well 
depend on the study of wisdom, which is called philoso- 
phy, I have thought it an employment worthy of me to il- 
lustrate them in the Latin tongue, not because philosophy 
could not be understood in the Greek language, or by the 
teaching of Greek masters; but it has always been my 
opinion that our countrymen have, in some instances, made 
wiser discoveries than the Greeks, with reference to those 
subjects which they have considered worthy of devoting 
their attention to, and in others have improved upon their 
discoveries, so that in one way or other we surpass them 
on every point; for, with regard to the manners and hab- 
its of private life, and family and domestic affairs, we cer- 
tainly manage them with more elegance, and better than 
they did; and as to our republic, that our ancestors have, 
beyond all dispute, formed on better customs and laws. 
What shall I say of our-military affairs; in which our an- 
cestors have been most eminent in valor, and still more so 


in discipline? As to those things which are attained not 
by study, but nature, neither Greece, nor any nation, is 
comparable to us; for what people has displayed such 
gravity, such steadiness, such greatness of soul, probity, 
faith — such distinguished virtue of every kind, as to be 
equal to our ancestors. In learning, indeed, and all kinds 
of literature, Greece did excel us, and it was easy to do 
so where there was no competition; for while among the 
Greeks the poets were the most ancient species of learned 
men —since Homer and Hesiod lived before the founda- 
tion of Rome, and Archilochus’ was a contemporary of 
Romulus — we received poetry much later. For it was 
about five hundred and ten years after the building of 
Rome before Livius® published a play in the consulship of 
C. Claudius, the son of Csecus, and M. Tuditanus, a year 
before the birth of Ennius, who was older than Plautus 
and Neevius. 

II. It was, therefore, late before poets were cither known 
or received among us; though we find in Cato de Origini- 
bus that the guests used, at their entertainments, to sing 
the praises of famous men to the sound of the flute; but 
a speech of Cato’s shows this kind of poetry to have been 
in no great esteem, as he censures Marcus Nobilior for 
carrying poets with him into his ‘province; for that con- 
sul, as we know, carried Ennius with him into AX®tolia. 
Therefore the less esteem poets were in, the less were 

1 Archilochus was a native of Paros, and flourished about 714-676 
B.c.. His poems were chiefly Iambics of bitter satire. Horace speaks 
of him as the inventor of Iambics, and calls himself his pupil. 

Parios ego primus Iambos 
Ostendi Latio, numeros animosque secutus 

Archilochi, non res et agentia verba Lycamben. 
Epist. I. xix. 25. 

And in another place he says, 
Archilochum proprio rabies armavit Iambo.—A. P. 74. 

* This was Livius Andronicus: he is supposed to have been a native 
of Tarentum, and he was made prisoner by the Romans, during their 
wars in Southern Italy; owing to which he became the slave of M. 
Livius Salinator. He wrote both comedies and tragedies, of which Cic- 
ero (Brutus 18) speaks very contemptuously, as ‘* Livianz fabule non 
satis dignze que iterum legantur”—not worth reading a second time. 
He also wrote a Latin Odyssey, and some hymns, and died probably 
about 221 B.c. 



those studies pursued; though even then those who did 
display the greatest abilities that way were not very in- 
ferior to the Greeks. Do we imagine that if it had been 
considered commendable in Fabius,’ a man of the highest 
vank, to paint, we should not have had many Polycleti and 
Parrhasii? Honor nourishes art, and glory is the spur 
with all to studies; while those studies are always neg- 
lected in every nation which are looked upon disparaging- 
ly. The Greeks held skill in vocal and instrumental mu- 
si¢ as a very important accomplishment, and therefore it 
is recorded of Epaminondas, who, in my opinion, was the 
greatest man among the Greeks, that he played excellent- 
ly on the flute; and Themistocles, some years before, was 
deemed ignorant because at an entertainment he declined 
the lyre when it was offered to him. For this reason mu- 
sicians flourished in Greece; music was a general study ; 
and whoever was unacquainted with it was not considered 
as fully instructed in learning. Geometry was in high es- 
teem with them, therefore none were more honorable than 
mathematicians. But we have confined this art to bare 
measuring and calculating. 
III. But, on the contrary, we early entertained an esteem 
for the orator; though he was not at first a man of learn- 
ing, but only quick at speaking: in subsequent times he 
became learned; for it is reported that Galba, Africanus, 
and Lelius were men of learning; and that even Cato, 
who preceded them in point of time, was a studious man: 
then succeeded the Lepidi, Carbo, and Gracchi, and so 
many great orators after them, down to our own times, 
that we were very little, if at all, inferior to the Greeks. 
Philosophy has been at a low ebb even to this present 
time, and has had no assistance from our own language, 
and so now I have undertaken to raise and illustrate it, in 
order that, as I have been of service to my countrymen, 
when employed on public affairs, I may, if possible, be so 
likewise in my retirement; and in this I must take the 
more pains, because there are already many books in the 

? C. Fabius, surnamed Pictor, painted the temple of Salus, which the 
dictator C. Junius Brutus Bubulus dedicated 302 B.c. The temple was 
destroyed by fire in the reign of Claudius. The painting is highly 
praised by Dionysius, xvi. 6. ‘ 


Latin language which are said to be written inaccurately, 
having been composed by excellent men, only not of suffi- 
cient learning; for, indeed, it is possible that a man may 
think well, and yet. not be able to express his thoughts - 
elegantly ; but for any one to publish thoughts which he 
can neither arrange skilfully nor illustrate so as to enter- 
tain his reader, is an unpardonable abuse of letters and 
retirement : they, therefore, read their books to one an- 
other, and no one ever takes them up but those who wish 
to have the same license for careless writing allowed to 
themselves. Wherefore, if oratory has acquired any rep- 
utation from my industry, I shall take the more pains to 
open the fountains of philosophy, from which all my elo- 
quence has taken its rise. 

IV. But, as Aristotle,’ a man of the greatest genius, and 
of the most various knowledge, being excited by the glory 
of the rhetorician Isocrates,* commenced teaching young 
men to speak, and joined philosophy with eloquence: so 
it is my design not to lay aside my former study of ora- 
tory, and yet to employ myself at the same time in this 
greater and more fruitful art; for I have always thought 
that to be able to speak copiously and elegantly on the 
most important questions was the most perfect philoso- 
phy. And I have so diligently applied myself to this pur- 
suit, that I have already ventured to have a school like the 
Greeks. And lately when you left us, having many of my 
friends about me, I attempted at my Tusculan villa what 
I could do in that way; for as I formerly used to practise 
declaiming, which nobody continued longer than myself, 
so this is now to be the declamation of my old age. I de- 
sired any one to propose a question which he wished to 
nave discussed, and then I argued that point either sit- 
ting or walking; and so I have compiled the schole, as the 
Greeks call them, of five days, in‘as many books. We pro- 
ceeded in this manner: when he who had proposed the 
subject for discussion had said what he thought proper, I 

? For an account of the ancient Greek philosophers, see the sketch at 
the end of the Disputations. 

* Isocrates was born at Athens 436 B.c. He was a-pupil of Gorgias, 
Prodicus, and Socrates. He opened a school of rhetoric, at Athens, with 
great success. He died by his own hand at the age of ninety-eight. 


spoke against him; for this is, you know, the old and So- 
cratic method of arguing against another’s opinion; for 
Socrates thought that thus the truth would more easily be 
arrived at. But to give you a better notion of our dispu- 
tations, I will not barely send you an account of them, but 
represent them to you as they were carried on; therefore 
let the introduction be thus: 

V. A. To me death seems to be an evil. 

M. What, to those who are already dead? or to those 
who must die? 

A, To both. 

M. It is a misery, then, because an evil? 

A. Certainly. 

M. Then those who have already died, and those who 
have still got to die, are both miserable ? 

A. So it appears to me. 

M. Then all are miserable ? 

A. Every one. 

M. And, indeed, if you wish to be consistent, all that 
are already born, or ever shall be, are not only miserable, 
but always will be so; for should you maintain those only 
to be miserable, you would not except any one living, for 
all must die; but there should be an end of misery in 
death. But seeing that the dead are miserable, we are 
born to eternal misery, for they must of consequence be 
miserable who died a hundred thousand years ago; or 
rather, all that have ever been born. 

A. So, indeed, I think. 

M. Tell me,I beseech you, are you afraid of the three- 
headed Cerberus in the shades below, and the roaring 
waves of Cocytus, and the passage over Acheron, and 
Tantalus expiring with thirst, while the water touches his 
chin; and Sisyphus, 

Who sweats with arduous toil in vain | 
The steepy summit of the mount to gain? 

Perhaps, too, you dread the inexorable judges, Minos and 
Rhadamanthus; before whom neither L. Crassus nor M. 
Antonius can defend you; and where, since the cause lies 
before Grecian judges, you will not even be able to employ 
Demosthenes; but you must plead for yourself before a 


very great assembly. These things perhaps you dread, 
and therefore look on death as an eternal evil. 

VI. A. Do you take me to be so imbecile as to give 
credit to such things? 

M. What, do you not believe them ? 

A. Not in the least. 

M. 1 am sorry to hear that. 

A. Why,I beg? 

M. Because I could have been very eloquent in speak- 
ing against them. 

A. And who could not on such a subject? or what 
trouble is it to refute these monstrous inventions of the 
poets and painters ?* 

M. And yet you have books of philosophers full of ar- 
guments against these. 

A. A great waste of time, truly! for who is so weak 
as to be concerned about them? 

M. ff, then, there is no one miserable in the infernal 
regions, there can be no one there at all. 

A. I am altogether of that opinion. 

M. Where, then, are those you call miserable? or what 
place do they inhabit? For, if they exist at all, they must 
be somewhere. 

A. I, indeed, am of opinion that they are nowhere. 

_ M. Then they have no existence at all. 

A. Even so, and yet they are miserable for this very 
reason, that they have no existence. 

M. Vhad rather now have you afraid of Cerberus than 
speak thus inaccurately. 

A. In what respect? 

M. Because you admit him to exist whose existence 
you deny with the same breath. Where now is your 
sagacity? When you say any one is miserable, you say 
that he who does not exist, does exist. 

A. I am not so absurd as to say that. 

1 So Horace joins these two classes as inventors of all kinds of improb- 

able fictions : 
Pictoribus atque poetis 
Quidlibet audendi semper fuit equa potestas.—A. P. 9 

Which Roscommon translates : 

Painters and poets have been still allow’d 
Their pencil and their fancies unconfined. 


M. What is it that you do say, then? 

A, I say, for instance, that Marcus Crassus is miserable 
in being deprived of such great riches as his by death; 
that Cn. Pompey is miserable in being taken from such 
glory and honor; and, in short, that all are miserable who 
are deprived of this light of life. 

M. You have returned to the same point, for to be mis- 
erable implies an existence; but you just now denied that 
the dead had any existence: if, then, they have not, they 
can be nothing; and if so, they are not even miserable. 

A. Perhaps I do not express what I mean, for I look 
upon this very circumstance, not to exist after having ex- 
isted, to be very miserable. 

M. What, more so than not to have existed at all? 
Therefore, those who are not yet born are miserable be- 
cause they are not; and ye ourselves, if we are to be mis- 
erable after death, were miserable before we were born: 
but I do not remember that I was miserable before I was 
born; and I should be glad to know, if your memory is 
better, what you recollect of yourself before you were 

VII. A. You are pleasant: as if I had said that those 
men are miserable who are not born, and not that they are 
so who are dead. 

M. You say, then, that they are so? 

A. Yes; I say that because they no longer exist after 
having existed they are miserable. 

M. You do not perceive that you are asserting contra- 

dictions; for what is a greater contradiction, than that 
that should be not only miserable, but should have any 
existence at all, which does not exist? When you go out 
at the Capene gate and see the tombs of the Calatini, the 
Scipios, Servilii, and Metelli, do you look on them as mis- 
erable ? 

A. Because you press me with a word, henceforward I 
will not say they are miserable absolutely, but miserable 
on this account, because they have no existence. 

M. You do not say, then, “M. Crassus is miserable,” 
but only “ Miserable M. Crassus.” 

A. Exactly so. 

M. As if it did not follow that whatever you speak of 


in that manner either is or is not. Are you not acquaint- 
ed with the first principles of logic? For this is the first 
thing they lay down, Whatever is asserted (for that is the 
best way that occurs to me, at the moment, of rendering 
the Greek term déiwua; if I can think of a more accurate 
expression hereafter, I will use it),is asserted as being ei- 
ther true or false. When, therefore, you say, “ Miserable 
M. Crassus,” you either say this, “ M. Crassus is misera- 
ble,” so that some judgment may be made whether it is 
true or false, or you say nothing at all. ; 

A. Well, then, I now own that the dead are not miser- 
able, since you have drawn from me a concession that 
they who do not exist at all can not be miserable. What 
then? We that are alive, are we not wretched, seeing we 
must die? for what is there agreeable in life, when we 
must night and day reflect that, at some time or other, we’ 
must die ? 

VIL M. Do: you not, then, perceive how great is the 
evil from which you have delivered human nature? 

A. By what means? 

M. Because, if to die were miserable to the dead, to live 
would be a kind of infinite and eternal misery. Now, 
however, I see a goal, and when I have reached it, there is 
nothing more to be feared ; but you seem to me to follow 
the opinion of Epicharmus,' a man of some discernment, 
and sharp enough for a Sicilian. 

A; What opinion? for I do not recollect it. 

M. J will tell you if I can in Latin; for you know I am 
no more used to bring in Latin sentences in a Greek dis- 
course than Greek in a Latin one, ; 

A, And thatis right enough. But what is that opinion 
of Epicharmus ? 

MM. I would not die, but yet 
Am not concerned that I shall be dead. 

A.I now recollect the Greek; but since you have 

? Epicharmus was a native of Cos, but lived at Megara, in Sicily, and 
when Megara was destroyed, removed to Syracuse, and lived at the court 
of Hiero, where he became the first writer of comedies, so that Horace 
ascribes the invention of comedy to him, and so does Theocritus. He 
lived to a great age. 


obliged me to grant that the dead are not miserable, pro- 
ceed to convince me that it is not miserable to be under a 
necessity of dying. 

M. That is easy enough; but I have greater things in 

A. How comes that to be so easy? And what are those 
things of more consequence ? 

M. Thus: because, if there is no evil after death, then 
even death itself can be none; for that which immediately 
succeeds that is a state where you grant that there is no 
evil: so that even to be obliged to die can be no evil, for 
that is only the being obliged to arrive at a place where 
we allow that no evil is. 

A. I beg you will be more explicit on this point, for 
these subtle arguments force me sooner to admissions than 
to conviction. But what are those more important things 
about which you say that you are occupied ? 

M. To teach you, if I can, that death is not only no 
evil, but a good. 

A. I do not insist on that, but should be glad to hear 
you argue it, for even though you should not prove your 
point, yet you will prove that death is no evil. But I will 
not interrupt you; I would rather hear a continued dis- 

M. What, if I should ask you a question, would you not 
answer ? 

A. That would look like pride; but I would rather you 
should not ask but where necessity requires. 

1X. MZ. I will comply with your wishes, and explain as 
well as I can what you require; but not with any idea 
that, like the Pythian Apollo, what I say must needs be 
certain and indisputable, but as 2 mere man, endeavoring 
to arrive at probabilities by conjecture, for I have no 
ground to proceed further on than probability. Those 
men may call their statements indisputable who assert that 
what they say can be perceived by the senses, and who 
proclaim themselves philosophers by profession. 

’ A, Do as you please: we are ready to hear you. 

M. The first thing, then, is to inquire what death, which 
seems to be so well understood, really is; for some imag- 
ine death to be the departure of the soul from the body; 


others think that there is no such departure, but that soul 
and body perish together, and that the soul is extinguished 
with the body. Of those who think that the soul does de- 
part from the body, some believe in its immediate disso- 
lution; others fancy that it continues to exist for a time; 
and others believe that it lasts forever. There is great 
dispute even what the soul is, where it is, and whence it 
is derived: with some, the heart itself (cor) seems to be 
the soul, hence the expressions, excordes, vecordes, con- 
cordes ; and that prudent. Nasica, who was twice consul, 
was called Corculus, 7. e., wise-heart; and A®lius Sextus is 
described as Eyregie cordatus homo, catus Aliw Sextus 
—that great wise-hearted man, sage Atlius. Empedocles 
imagines the blood, which is suffused over the heart, to 
be the soul; to others, a certain part of the brain seems 
to be the throne of the soul; others neither allow the heart 
itself, nor any portion of the brain, to be the soul, but 
think either that the heart is the seat and abode of the 
soul, or else that the brain is so. Some would have the 
soul, or spirit, to be the anima, as our schools generally 
agree; and indeed the name signifies as much, for we use 
the expressions animam agere, to live; animam efflare, to 
expire; animosi, men of spirit; bene animati, men of right 
feeling ; exanimi sententia, according to our real opinion ; 
and the very word animus is derived from anima. Again, 
the soul seems to Zeno the Stoic to be fire. 

X. But what I have said as to the heart, the blood, the 
brain, air, or fire being the soul, are common opinions: the 
others are only entertained by individuals; and, indeed, 
there were many among the ancients who held singular 
opinions on this subject, of whom the latest was Aristoxe- 
nus, 2 man who was both a musician and a philosopher. 
He maintained a certain straining of the body, like what is 
called harmony in music, to be the soul, and believed that, 
from the figure and nature of the whole body, various mo- 
tions are excited, as sounds are from an instrument. He 
adhered steadily to his system, and yet he said something, 
the nature of which, whatever it was, had been detailed 
and explained a great while before by Plato. Xenocrates 
denied that the soul had any figure, or anything like a 
body ; but said it was a number, the power of which, as 


Pythagoras had fancied, some ages before, was the great- 
est in nature: his master, Plato, imagined a threefold soul, 
a dominant portion of which—that is to say, reason—he had 
lodged in the head, as in a tower; and the other two parts 
—namely, anger and desire—he made subservient to this 
one, and allotted them distinct abodes, placing anger in the 
breast, and desire under the preecordia. But Dicsearchus, 
in that discourse of some learned disputants, held at Cor- 
inth; which he details to us in three books—in the first 
book introduces many speakers; and in the other two he 
introduces a certain Pherecrates, an old man of Phthia, 
who, as he said, was descended from Deucalion; asserting, 
that there is in fact no such thing at all as a soul, but 
that it is a name without a meaning; and that it is idle to 
use the expression “ animals,” or “animated beings ;” that 
neither men nor beasts have minds or souls, but that all 
that power by which we act or perceive is equally infused 
into every living creature, and is inseparable from the body, 
for if it were not, it would be nothing; nor is there any- 
thing whatever really existing except body, which is a 
single and simple thing, so fashioned as to live and have 
its sensations in consequence of the regulations of nature. 
Aristotle, a man superior to all others, both in genius and 
industry (I always except Plato), after having embraced 
these four known sorts of principles, from which all things 
deduce their origin, imagines that there is a certain fifth 
nature, from whence comes the soul; for to think, to fore- 
see, to learn, to teach, to invent anything, and many other 
attributes of the same kind, such as to remember, to love, 
to hate, to desire, to fear, to be pleased or displeased— 
these, and others like them, exist, he thinks, in none of 
those first four kinds: on such account’ he adds a fifth 
kind, which has no name, and so by a new name he calls 
the soul_gvdedéyera, as if it were a certain continued and 
perpetual motion. 

XI. If I have not forgotten anything unintentionally, 
these are the principal opinions concerning the soul. I 
have omitted Democritus, a very great man indeed, but 
one who deduces the soul from the fortuitous concourse 
of small, light, and round substances; for, if you believe 
men of his school, there is nothing which a crowd of atoms 


cannot effect. "Which of these opinions is true, some God 
must determine. It is an important question for us, Which 
has the most appearance of truth? Shall we, then, prefer 
determining between them, or shall we return to our sub- 
ject ? 

f A.-I could wish both, if possible; but it is difficult. to 
mix them: therefore, if without a discussion of them we 
can get rid of the fears of death, let us proceed to do so; 
but if this is not to be done without explaining the ques- 
tion about souls, let us have that now, and the other at an- 
other time. 

M. J take that plan to be the best, which I perceive you 
are inclined to; for reason will demonstrate that, which- 
ever of the opinions which I have stated is true, it must 
follow, then, that death cannot be an evil; or that it must 
rather be something desirable; for if either the heart, or 
the blood, or the brain, is the soul, then certainly the soul, 
being corporeal, must perish with the rest of the body; 
if it is air, it will perhaps be dissolved ; if it is fire, it will 
be extinguished ; if it is Aristoxenus’s harmony, it will be 
put out of tune. What shall I say of Dicearchus, who 
denies that there is any soul? In all these opinions, there 
is nothing to affect any one after death; for all feeling is 
lost with life, and where there is no sensation, nothing can 
interfere to affect us. The opinions of others do indeed 
bring us hope; if it is any pleasure to you to think that 
souls, after they leave the body, may go to heaven as to 
a permanent home. 

A. I have great pleasure in that thought, and it is what 
I most desire; and even if it should not be so, I should 
still be very willing to believe it. 

M. What occasion have you, then, for my assistance ? 
Am I superior to Plato in eloquence? Turn over care- 
fully his book that treats of the soul; you will have there 
all that you can want. 

A. I have, indeed, done that, and often; but, I know 
not how it comes to pass, I agree with it while I am read- 
ing it; but when I have laid down the book, and begin to 
reflect with myself on the immortality of the soul, all that 
agreement vanishes. 

M. How comes that? Do you admit this—that souls 


either exist after death, or else that they also perish at the 
moment of death? 

A. L agree to that. And if they do exist, I admit that 
they are happy; but if they perish, I cannot suppose them 
to be unhappy, because, in fact, they have no existence at 
all. You drove me to that concession but just now. 

M. How, then, can you, or why do you, assert that you 
think that death is an evil, when it either makes us happy, 
in the case of the soul continuing to exist, or, at all events, 
not unhappy, in the case of our becoming destitute of all 
sensation ? . 

XII. A. Explain, therefore, if it is not troublesome to 
you, first, if you can, that souls do exist after death; sec- 
ondly, should you fail in that (and it is a very difficult 
thing to establish), that death is free from all evil; for I 
am not without my fears that this itself is an evil: I do 
not mean the immediate deprivation of sense, but the fact 
that we shall hereafter suffer deprivation. 

M. T have the best authority in support of the opinion 
you desire to have established, which ought, and generally 
has, great weight in all cases. And, first, I have all an- 
tiquity on that side, which the more near it is to its origin 
and divine descent, the more clearly, perhaps, on that ac- 
count, did it discern the truth in these matters. This very 
doctrine, then, was adopted by all those ancients whom 
Ennius calls in the Sabine tongue Casci; namely, that in 
death there was a sensation, and that, when men departed 
this life, they were not so entirely destroyed as to perish 
absolutely. And this may appear from many other cir- 
cumstances, and especially from the pontifical rites and 
funeral obsequies, which men of the greatest genius would 
not have been so solicitous about, and would not have 
guarded from any injury by such severe laws, but from a 
firm persuasion that death was not so entire a destruction 
as wholly to abolish and destroy everything, but rather a 
kind of transmigration, as it were, and change of life, which 
was, in the case of illustrious men and women, usually a 
guide to heaven, while in that of others it was still con- 
fined to the earth, but in such a manner as still to exist. 
From this, and the sentiments of the Romans, 

In heaven Romulus with Gods now lives, 

as Ennius saith, agreeing with the common belief; hence, 
too, Hercules is considered so great and propitious a God 
among the Greeks, and from them he was introduced 
among us, and his worship has extended even to the very 
ocean itself. This is how it was that Bacchus was dei- 
fied, the offspring of Semele; and from the same illustri- 
ous fame we receive Castor and Pollux as Gods, who are 
reported not only to have helped the Romans to. victory 
in their battles, but to have been the messengers of their 
success. What shall we say of Ino, the daughter of Cad- 
mus? Is she not called Leucothea by the Greeks, and 
Matuta by us? Nay, more; is not the whole of heaven 
(not to dwell on particulars) almost filled with the off- 
spring of men? 

Should I attempt to search into antiquity, and produce 
from thence what the Greek writers have asserted, it 
would appear that even those who are called their princi- 
pal Gods were taken from among men up into heaven. 

XII. Examine the sepulchres of those which are shown 
in Greece; recollect, for you have been initiated, what les- 
sons are taught in the mysteries; then will you perceive 
how extensive this doctrine is. But they who were not 
acquainted with natural philosophy (for it did not begin 
to be in vogue till many years later) had no higher belief 
than what natural reason could give them; they were not 
acquainted with the principles and causes of things; they 
were often induced by certain visions, and those general- 
ly in the night, to think that those men who had departed 
from this life were still alive. And this may further be 
brought as an irrefragable argument for us to believe that 
there are Gods—that there never was any nation so barbar- 
ous, nor any people in the world so savage, as to be with- 
out some notion of Gods. Many have wrong notions of 
the Gods, for that is the nature and ordinary consequence 
of bad customs, yet all allow that there is a certain divine 
nature and energy. Nor does this proceed from the con- 
versation of men, or the agreement of philosophers; it is 
not an opinion established by institutions or by laws; but, 
no doubt, in every case the consent of all nations is to be 
looked on as a law of nature. Who is there, then, that 
does not lament the loss of his friends, principally from 


imagining them deprived of the conveniences of life? 
Take away this opinion, and you remove with it all grief; 
for no one is afflicted merely on account of a loss sustained 
by himself. Perhaps we may be sorry, and grieve a little ; 
but that bitter lamentation and those mournful tears have 
their origin in our apprehensions that he whom we loved 
is deprived of all the advantages of life, and is sensible of 
his loss. And we are led to this opinion by nature, with- 
out any arguments or any instruction. 

XIV. But the greatest proof of all is, that nature her- 
self gives a silent judgment in favor of the immortality of 
the soul, inasmuch as all are anxious, and that to a great 
degree, about the things which concern futurity: 

One plants what future ages shall enjoy, 

as Statius saith in his Synephebi. What is his object in 
doing so, except that he is interested in posterity? Shall 
the industrious husbandman, then, plant trees the fruit of 
which he shall never see? And shall not the great man 
found laws, institutions, and a republic? What does the 
procreation of children imply, and our care to continue 
our names, and our adoptions, and our scrupulous exact- 
ness in drawing up wills, and the inscriptions on monu- 
ments, and panegyrics, but that our thoughts run on futu- 
rity? There is no doubt but a judgment may be formed 
of nature in general, from looking at each nature in its _ 
most perfect specimens; and what is a more perfect spec- 
imen of a man than those are who look on themselves as 
born for the assistance, the protection, and the preserva- 
tion of others? Hercules has gone to heaven; he never 
would have gone thither had he not, while among men, 
made that road for himself. These things are of old date, 
and have, besides, the sanction of universal religion. 

XV. What will you say? What do you imagine that 
so many and such great men of our republic, who have 
sacrificed their lives for its good, expected? Do you be- 
lieve that they thonght that their names should not con- 
tinue beyond their lives? None ever encountered death 

-for their country but under a firm persuasion of immortal- 
ity! Themistocles might have lived at his ease; so might 
Epaminondas; and, not to look abroad and among the an- 


cients for instances, so might I myself. But, somehow or 
other, there clings to our minds a certain presage of future 
ages; and this both exists most firmly, and appears most 
clearly, in men of the loftiest genius and greatest souls. 
Take away this,and who would be so mad as to spend his 
life amidst toils and dangers? I speak of those in power. 
What are the poet’s views but to be ennobled after death ? 
What else is the object of these lines, 

Behold old Ennius here, who erst 
Thy fathers’ great exploits rehearsed ? 

He is challenging the reward of glory from those men 
whose ancestors he himself had ennobled by his poetry. 
And in the same spirit he says, in another passage, 

Let none with tears my funeral grace, for I 
Claim from my works an immortality. 

Why do I mention poets? The very mechanics are de- 
sirous of fame after death. Why did Phidias include a 
likeness of himself in the shield of Minerva, when he was 
not allowed to inscribe his name on it? What do our 
philosophers think on the subject? Do not they put their 
names to those very books which they write on the con- 
tempt of glory? If, then, universal consent is the voice 
of nature, and if it is the general opinion everywhere that 
those who have quitted this life are still interested in 
something, we also must subscribe to that opinion. And 
if we think that men of the greatest abilities and virtues 
see most clearly into the power of nature, because they 
_ themselves are her most perfect work, it is very probable 
that, as every great man is especially anxious to benefit 
posterity, there is something of which he himself will be 
sensible after death. 

XVI. But as we are led by nature to think there are 
Gods, and as we discover, by reason, of what description 
they are, so, by the consent of all nations, we are induced 
to believe that our souls survive; but where their habita- 
tion is, and of what character they eventually are, must be 
learned from reason. The want of any certain reason on 
which to argue has given rise to the idea of the shades 
‘below, and to those fears which you seem, not without 


reason, to despise; for as our bodies fall to the ground, 
and are covered with earth (Awmus), from whence we de- 
rive the expression to be interred (hwmari), that has oc- 
casioned men to imagine that the dead continue, during 
the remainder of their existence, under ground; which 
opinion has drawn after it many errors, which the poets 
have increased; for the theatre, being frequented by a 
large crowd, among which are women and children, is 
wont to be greatly affected on hearing such pompous 
verses as these, 

Lo! here I am, who scarce could gain this place, 
Through stony mountains and a dréary waste ; 

Through cliffs, whose sharpen’d stones tremendous hung, 
Where dreadful darkness spread itself around. 

And the error prevailed so much, though indeed at pres- 
ent it seems to me to be removed, that although men 
knew that the bodies of the dead had been burned, yet 
they conceived such things to be done in the infernal re- 
gions as could not be executed or imagined without a 
body; for they could not conceive how disembodied souls 
could exist; and, therefore, they looked out for some shape 
or figure. This was the origin of all that account of the 
dead in Homer. This was the idea that caused my friend 
Appius to frame his Necromancy; and this is how there 
got about that idea of the lake of Avernus, in my neighbor- 

From whence the souls of undistinguish’d shape, 
Clad in thick shade, rush from the open gate 
Of Acheron, vain phantoms of the dead. 

And they must needs have these appearances Speak, which 
is not possible without a tongue, and a palate, and jaws, 
and without the help of lungs and sides, and without some 
shape or figure; for they could see nothing by their mind 
alone—they referred all to their eyes.. To withdraw the 
mind from sensual objects, and abstract our thoughts from 
what we are accustomed to, is an attribute of great gen- 
ius. I am persuaded, indeed, that there were many such 
men in former ages; but Pherecydes' the Syrian is the 

? Pherecydes was a native of Scyros, one of the Cyclades; and is 
said to have obtained his knowledge from the secret books of the Phe- 


first on record who said that the souls of men were im- 
mortal, and he was a philosopher of great antiquity, in the 
reign of my namesake Tullius. His disciple Pythagoras 
greatly confirmed this opinion, who came into Italy in the 
reign of Tarquin the Proud; and all that country which 
is called Great Greece was occupied by his school, and he 
himself was held in high honor, and had the greatest au- 
thority ; and the Pythagorean sect was for many ages af- 
ter in such great credit, that all learning was believed to 
be confined to that name. 

XVII. But I return to the ancients. They scarcely 
ever gave any reason for their opinion but what could be 
explained by numbers or definitions. It is reported of 
Plato that he came into Italy to make himself acquaint- 
ed with the Pythagoreans; and that when there, among 
others, he made an acquaintance with Archytas’ and Ti- 
meus,” and learned from them all the tenets of the Py- 
thagoreans; and that he not only was of the same opinion 
with Pythagoras concerning the immortality of the soul, 
but that he also brought reasons in support of it; which, 
if you have nothing to say against it, I will pass over, and 
say no more at present about all this hope of ‘immor tality. 

A. What, will you leave me when you have raised my 
expectations so high? I had rather,so help me Hercules ! 
be mistaken with Plato, whom I know how much you es- 
teem, and whom I admire myself, from what you omy of 
him, than be in the right with those others. 

nicians. He is said also to have been a pupil of Pittacus, the rival of 
Thales, and the master of Pythagoras. His doctrine was that there were 
three principles (Zedc, or Ather ; XOwyv, or Chaos; and Xpbvoc, or Time) 
and four elements (Fire, Earth, ‘Air, and Water), ‘from which everything 
that exists was formed.— Vide Smith’s Dict. Gr. and Rom. Biog. 

? Archytas was a native of Tarentum, and is said to have Sond the life 
of Plato by his influence with the tyrant Dionysius. He was especially 
— as a mathematician and geometrician, so that Horace calls him 

Maris et terree numeroque carentis arene 
Mensorem. Od. i. 28, 1. 

Plato is supposed to have learned some of his views from him, and 
Aristotle to have borrowed from him every idea of the Categories. 

2 This was not Timeus the historian, but a native of Locri, who is 
said also in the De Finibus (c. 29) to have been a teacher of Plato. 
There is a treatise extant bearing his name, which is, however, proba- 
bly spurious, and only an abridgment of Plato’s dialogue Timzus., 



M. I commend you; for, indeed, I could myself willing- 
ly be mistaken in his company. Do we, then, doubt, as 
we do in other cases (though I think here is very little 
room for doubt in this case, for the mathematicians prove 
the facts to us), that the earth is placed in the midst of 
the world, being, as it were, a sort of point, which they call 
a xévrpov, surrounded by the whole heavens; and that 
such is the nature of the four principles which are the 
generating causes of all things, that they have equally di- 
vided among them the constituents of all bodies; more- 
over, that earthy and humid bodies are carried at equal 
angles by their own weight and ponderosity into the 
earth and sea; that the other two parts consist, one of 
fire, and the other of air? As the two former are carried 
by their gravity and weight into the middle region of the 
world, so these, on the other hand, ascend by right lines 
into the celestial regions, either because, owing to their 
intrinsic nature, they are always endeavoring to reach the 
highest place, or else because lighter bodies are naturally 
repelled by heavier; and as this is notoriously the case, 
it must evidently follow that souls, when once they have 
departed from the body, whether they are animal (by 
which term I mean capable of breathing) or of the nature 
of fire, must mount upward. But if the soul is some 
number, as some people assert, speaking with more sub- 
tlety than clearness, or if it is that fifth nature, for which 
it would-be more correct to say that we have not given a 
name to than that we do not correctly understand it—still 
it is too pure and perfect not to go to a great distance from 
the earth. Something of this sort, then, we must believe 
the soul to be, that we may not commit the folly of think- 
ing that so active a principle lies immerged in the heart 
or brain; or,as Empedocles would have it, in the blood. 

XVIII. We will pass over Diczarchus,’ with his con- 
temporary and fellow-disciple Aristoxenus,’ both indeed 

1 Dicearchus was a native of Messana, in Sicily, though he lived chief- 
ly in Greece. He was one of the later disciples of Aristotle. He was a 
great geographer, politician, historian, and philosopher, and died about 
285 B.C. 

? Aristoxenus was a native of Tarentum, and also a pupil of Aristo- 
tle. We know nothing of his opinions except that he held the soul to 


men of learning. One of them seems never even to have 
been affected with grief, as he could not perceive that he 
had a soul; while the other is so pleased with his musical 
compositions that he endeavors to show an analogy be- 
twixt them and souls. Now, we may understand har- 
mony to arise from the intervals of sounds, whose various 
compositions occasion many harmonies; but I do not see 
how a disposition of members, and the figure of a bod 
without a soul, can occasion harmony. He had better, 
learned as he is, leave these speculations to his master 
Aristotle, and follow his own trade as a musician. Good 
advice is given him in that Greek proverb, 

Apply your talents where you best are skill’d. 

I will have nothing at all to do with that fortuitous con- 
course of individual light and round bodies, notwithstand- 
ing Democritus insists on their being warm and having 
breath, that is to say, life. But this soul, which is com- 
pounded of either of the four principles from which we 
assert that all things are derived, is of inflamed air, as 
seems particularly to have been the opinion of Paneztius, 
and must necessarily mount upward; for air and fire have 
no tendency downward, but always ascend; so should 
they be dissipated that must be at some distance from 
the earth; but should they remain, and preserve their 
original state, it is clearer still that they must be carried 
heavenward, and this gross and concrete air, which is 
nearest the earth, must be divided and broken by them; 
for the soul is warmer, or rather hotter, than that air, which 
I just now called gross and concréte: and this may be 
made evident from this consideration—that our bodies, be- 
ing compounded of the earthy class of principles, grow 
warm by the heat of the soul. 

XIX. We may add, that the soul can the more easily 
escape from this air, which I have often named, and break 

be a harmony of the body; a doctrine which had been already discussed 
by Plato in the Phedo, and combated by Aristotle. He was a great 
musician, and the chief portions of his works which have come down 
to us are fragments of some musical treatises.—Smith’s Dict. Gr. and 
Rom. Biog.; to which source I must acknowledge my obligation for 
nearly the whole of these biographical notes, 


through it, because nothing is swifter than the soul; no 
swiftness is comparable to the swiftness of the soul, 
which, should it remain uncorrupt and without alteration, 
must necessarily be carried on with such velocity as to 
penetrate and ‘divide all this atmosphere, where clouds, 
and rain, and winds are formed, which, in consequence of 
the exhalations from the earth, is moist and dark: but, 
when the soul has once got above this region, and falls in 
with, and recognizes, a nature like its own, it then rests 
upon fires composed of a combination of thin air and a 
moderate solar heat, and does not aim at any higher 
flight; for then, after it has attained a lightness and heat 
resembling its own, it moves no more, but remains steady, 
being balanced, as it were, between two equal weights. 
That, then, is its natural seat where it has penetrated to 
something like itself, and where, wanting nothing further, 
it may be supported and maintained by the same aliment 
which nourishes and maintains the stars. 

Now, as we are usually incited to all sorts of desires by 
the stimulus of the body, and the more so as we endeavor 
to rival those who are in possession of what we long for, 
we shall certainly be happy when, being emancipated from 
that body, we at the same time get rid of these desires 
and this rivalry. And that which we do at present, 
when, dismissing all other cares, we curiously examine 
and look into anything, we shall then do with greater free- 
dom; and we shall employ ourselves entirely in the con- 
templation and examination of things; because there is 
naturally in our minds a certain insatiable desire to know 
the truth, and the very region itself where we shall arrive, 
as it gives us a more intuitive and easy knowledge of ce- 
lestial things, will raise our desires after knowledge. For 
it was this beauty of the heavens, as seen even here upon 
earth, which gave birth to that national and hereditary 
philosophy (as Theophrastus calls it), which was thus ex- 
cited to a desire of knowledge. But those persons will in 
a most especial degree enjoy this philosophy, who, while 
they were only inhabitants of this world and enveloped in 
darkness, were still desirous of looking into these things 
with the eye of their mind. 

XX. For if those men now think that they have attain- 


ed something who have seen the mouth of the Pontus, 
and those straits which were passed by the ship called 
Argo, because, 

From Argos she did chosen men convey, 
Bound to fetch back the Golden Fleece, their prey ; 

or those who have seen the straits of the ocean, 

Where the swift waves divide the neighboring shores 
Of Europe, and of Afric; 

what kind of sight do you imagine that will be when the 
whole earth is laid open to our view? and that, too, not 
only in its position, form, and boundaries, nor those parts 
of it only which are habitable, but those also that lie un- 
cultivated, through the extremities of heat and cold to 
which they are exposed; for not even now is it with our 
eyes that we view what we see, for the body itself has no 
senses; but (as the naturalists, ay, and even the physicians 
assure us, who have opened our bodies, and examined 
them) there are certain perforated channels from the seat 
of the soul to the eyes, ears, and nose; so that frequently, 
when either prevented by meditation, or the force of some 
bodily disorder, we neither hear nor see, though our eyes 
and ears are open and in good condition; so that we may 
easily apprehend that it is the soul itself which sees and 
hears, and not those parts which are, as it were, but win- 
dows to the soul, by means of which, however, she can 
perceive nothing, unless she is on the spot, and exerts her- 
self. How shall we account for the fact that by the same 
power of thinking we comprehend the most different 
things—as color, taste, heat, smell, and sound—which the 
soul could never know by her five messengers, unless every 
thing were referred to her, and she were the sole judge of 
all? And we shall certainly discover these things in a 
more clear and perfect degree when the soul is disengaged 
from the body, and has arrived at that goal to which nat- 
ure leads her; for at present, notwithstanding nature has 
contrived, with the greatest skill, those channels which 
lead from the body to the soul, yet are they, in some way 
or other, stopped up with earthy and concrete bodies; but 
when we shall be nothing but soul, then nothing will inter- 


fere to prevent our seeing everything in its real substance 
and in its true character. 

XXI. It is true, I might expatiate, did the subject re- 
quire it, on the many and various objects with which the 
soul will be entertained in those heavenly regions; when I 
reflect on which, I am apt to wonder at the boldness of 
some philosophers, who are so struck with admiration at 
the knowledge of nature as to thank, in an exulting man- 
ner, the first inventor and teacher of natural philosophy, 
and to reverence him as a God; for they declare that they 
have been delivered by his means from the greatest tyrants, 
a perpetual terror, and a fear that molested them by night 
and day. What is this dread—this fear? What old 
woman is there so weak as to fear these things, which you, 
forsooth, had you not been acquainted with natural philos- 
ophy, would stand in awe of? 

The hallow’d roofs of Acheron, the dread 
Of Orcus, the pale regions of the dead. 

And does it become a philosopher to boast that he is not 
afraid of these things, and that he has discovered them to 
be false? And from this we may perceive how acute these 
men were by nature, who, if they had been left without 
any instruction, would have believed in these things. But 
now they have certainly made a very fine acquisition in 
learning that when the day of their death arrives, they 
will perish entirely. And, if that really is the case—for I 
say nothing either way—what is there agreeable or glori- 
ous init? Not that I see any reason why the opinion of 
Pythagoras and Plato may not be trne; but even although 
Plato were to have assigned no reason for his opinion (ob- 
serve how much I esteem the man), the weight of his au- 
thority would have borne me down; but he has brought 
so many reasons, that he appears to me to have endeav- 
ored to convince others, and certainly to have convinced 

XXII. But there are many who labor on the other side 
of the question, and condemn souls to death, as if they 
were criminals capitally convicted; nor have they any 
other reason to allege why the immortality of the soul ap- 
pears to them to be incredible, except that they are not 


able to conceive what sort of thing the soul can be when 
disentangled from the body; just as if they could really 
form a correct idea as to what sort of thing it is, even 
when it is in the body; what its form, and size, and 
abode are; so that were they able to have a full view of 
all that is now hidden from them in a living body, they 
have no idea whether the soul would be discernible by 
them, or whether it is of so fine a texture that it would 
escape their sight. Let those consider this, who say that 
they are unable to form any idea of the soul without the 
body, and then they will see whether they can form any 
adequate idea of what it is when it is in the body. For 
my own part, when I reflect on the nature of the soul, it 
appears to me a far more perplexing and obscure question 
to determine what is its character while it is in the body 
—a place which, as it were, does not belong to it—than to 
imagine what it is when it leaves it, and has arrived at 
the free «ther, which is, if I may so say, its proper, its 
own habitation. For unless we are to say that we cannot 
apprehend the character or nature of anything which we 
have never seen, we certainly may be able to form some 
notion of God, and of the divine soul when released from 
the body. Diczearchus, indeed, and Aristoxenus, because 
it was hard to understand the existence and substance 
and nature of the soul, asserted that there was no such 
thing as a soul at all. It is, indeed, the most difficult. 
thing imaginable to discern the soul by the soul. And 
this, doubtless, is the meaning of the precept of Apollo, 
which advises every one to know himself. . For I do not 
apprehend the meaning of the God to have been that we 
should understand our members, our stature, and form; 
for we are not merely bodies; nor, when I say these things 
to you,am I addressing myself to your body: when, there- 
fore, he says, “ Know yourself,” he says this, “Inform 
yourself of the nature of your soul;” for the body is but 
a kind of vessel, or receptacle of the soul, and whatever 
your soul does is your own act. To know the soul, then, 
unless it had been divine, would not have been a precept 
of such excellent wisdom as to be attributed to a God; but 
even though the soul should not know of what nature it- 
self is, will you say that it does not even perceive that it 


exists at all, or that it has motion? On which is founded 
that reason of Plato’s, which is explained by Socrates in 
the Pheedrus, and inserted by me, in my sixth book of the 

XXIII. “That which is always moved is eternal; but 
that which gives motion to something else, and is moved 
itself by some external cause, when that motion ceases, 
must necessarily cease to exist. That, therefore, alone, 
which is self-moved, because it is never forsaken by itself, 
can never cease to be moved. Besides, it is the beginning 
and principle of motion to everything else; but whatever 
is a principle has no beginning, for all things arise from 
that principle, and it cannot itself owe its rise to anything 
else; for then it would not be a principle did it proceed 
from anything else. But if it has no beginning, it never 
will have any end; for a principle which is once extin- 
guished cannot itself be restored by anything else, nor 
can it produce anything else from itself; inasmuch as all 
things must necessarily arise from some first cause. And 
thus it comes about that the first principle of motion 
must arise from that thing which is itself moved by itself; 
and that can neither have a beginning nor an end of its 
existence, for otherwise the whole heaven and earth would 
be overset, and all nature would stand still, and not be 
able to acquire any force by the impulse of which it 
might be first set in motion. Seeing, then, that it is clear 
that whatever moves itself is eternal, can there be any 
doubt that the soul is so? For everything is inanimate 
which is moved by an external force; but everything 
which is animate is moved by an interior force, which also 
belongs to itself. For this is the peculiar nature and 
power of the soul; and if the soul be the only thing in 
the whole world which has the power of self-motion, then 
certainly it never had a beginning, and therefore it is 

Now, should all the lower order of philosophers (for so 
I think they may be called who dissent from Plato and 
Socrates and that school) unite their force, they never 
would be able to explain anything so elegantly as this, 
nor even to understand how ingeniously this conclusion is 
drawn. The soul, then, perceives itself to have motion, 


and, at the same time that it gets that perception, it is 
sensible that it derives that motion from its own power, 
and not from the agency of another; and it is impossible 
that it should ever forsake itself. And these premises 
compel you to allow its eternity, unless you have some- 
thing to say against them. 

A. I should myself be very well pleased not to have 
even a thought arise in my mind against them, so much 
am I inclined to that opinion. 

XXIV. M. Well, then, 1 appeal to you,if the arguments 
which prove that there is something divine in the souls of 
men are not equally strong? But if I could account for 
the origin of these divine properties, then I might also 
be able to explain how they might cease to exist; for I 
think I can account for the manner in which the blood, 
and bile, and phlegm, and bones, and nerves, and veins, and 
all the limbs,and the shape of the whole body, were put 
together and made; ay, and even as to the soul itself, were 
there nothing more in it than a principle of life, then the 
life of a man might be put upon the same footing as that 
of a vine or any other tree, and accounted for as caused 
by nature; for these things, as we say, live. Besides, if 
desires and aversions were all that belonged to the soul, 
it would have them only in common with the beasts; but 
it has,in the first place, memory, and that, too, so infinite 
as to recollect an absolute countless number of circum- 
stances, which Plato will have to be a recollection of a 
former life; for in that book which is inscribed Menon, 
Socrates asks a child some questions in geometry, with 
reference to measuring a square; his answers are such as 
a child would make, and yet the questions are so easy, 
that while answering them, one by one, he comes to the 
same point as if he had learned geometry. From whence 
Socrates would infer that learning is nothing more than 
recollection ; and this topic he explains more accurately 
in the discourse which he held the very day he died; for 
he there asserts that any one, who seeming to be entirely 
illiterate, is yet able to answer a question well that is pro- 
posed to him, does in so doing manifestly show that he 
is not learning it then, but recollecting it by his memory. 

Nor is it to be accounted for in any other way, how chil- 


dren come to have notions of so many and such important 
things as are implanted, and, as it were, sealed up, in their 
minds (which the Greeks call évvora), unless the soul, be- 
fore it entered the body, had been well stored with knowl- 
edge. And as it had no existence at all (for this is the 
invariable doctrine of Plato, who will not admit anything 
to have a real existence which has a beginning and an 
end, and who thinks that that alone does really exist which 
is of such a character as what he calls cidea, and we species), 
therefore, being shut up in the body, it could not while in 
the body discover what it knows; but it knew it before, 
and brought the knowledge with it, so that we are no 
longer surprised at its extensive and multifarious knowl- 
edge. Nor does the soul clearly discover its ideas at its 
first resort to this abode to which it is so unaccustomed, 
and which is in so disturbed a state; but after having re- 
freshed and recollected itself, it then by its memory re- 
covers them; and, therefore, to learn implies nothing more 
than to recollect. But I am in a particular manner sur- 
prised at memory. For what is that faculty by which we 
remember? what is its force? what its nature? I am 
not inquiring how great a memory Simonides’ may be 
said to have had, or Theodectes,’ or that Cineas* who was 
sent to Rome as ambassador from Pyrrhus; or, in more 
modern times, Charmadas ;* or, very lately, Metrodorus’ 

+ The Simonides here meant is the celebrated poet of Ceos, the per- 
fecter of elegiac poetry among the Greeks. He flourished about the 
time of the Persian war. Besides his poetry, he is said to have been the 
inventor of some method of aiding the memory. He died at the court 
of Hiero, 467 B.c. 

? Theodectes was a native of Phaselis, in Pamphylia, a distinguished 
rhetorician and tragic poet, and flourished in the time of Philip of Mac- 
edon. He was a pupil of Isocrates, and lived at Athens, and died there 
at the age of forty-one. 

* Cineas was a Thessalian, and (as is said in the text) came to Rome 
as ambassador from Pyrrhus after the battle of Heraclea, 280 B.c., and 
his memory is said to have been so great that on the day after his arri- 
val he was able to address all the senators and knights by name. He 
probably died before Pyrrhus returned to Italy, 276 B.c. 

* Charmadas, called also Charmides, was a fellow-pupil with Philo, 
the Larisseean of Clitomachus, the Carthaginian. He is said by some 
authors to have founded a fourth academy. 

- © Metrodorus was a minister of Mithridates the Great; and employed 
by him as supreme judge in Pontus, and afterward as an ambassador. 


the Scepsian, or our own contemporary Hortensius :’ I am 
speaking of ordinary memory, and especially of those men 
who are employed in any important study or art, the great 
capacity of whose minds it is hard to estimate, such num- 
bers of things do they remember. 

XXYV. Should you ask what this leads to, I think we 
may understand what that power is, and whence we have 
it. It certainly proceeds neither from the heart, nor from 
the blood, nor from the brain, nor from atoms; whether 
it be air or fire, 1 know not, nor am I, as those men are, 
ashamed, in cases where I am ignorant, to own that I am 
so. Ifin any other obscure matter I were able to assert 
anything positively, then I would swear that the soul, be 
it air or fire, is divine. Just think, I beseech you: can 
you imagine this wonderful power of memory to be sown 
in or to be a part of the composition of the earth, or of 
this dark and gloomy atmosphere? Though you cannot 
apprehend what it is, yet you see what kind of thing it is, 
or if you do not quite see that, yet you certainly see how 
great itis. What,then? Shall we imagine that there is 
a kind of measure in the soul, into which, as into a vessel, 
all that we remember is poured? That indeed is absurd; 
for how shall we form any idea of the bottom, or of the 
shape or fashion of such a soul as that? And, again, how 
are we to conceive how much it is able to contain? Shall 
we imagine the soul to receive impressions like wax, and 
memory to be marks of the impressions made on the soul? 
What are the characters of the words, what of the facts 
themselves? and what, again, is that prodigious greatness 
which can give rise to impressions of so many things? 
What, lastly, is that power which investigates secret 
things, and is called invention and contrivance? Does 
that man seem to be compounded of this earthly, mortal, 
and perishing nature who first invented names for every- 
Cicero speaks of him in other places (De Orat. ii. 88) as a man of won- 
derful memory. 

? Quintus Hortensius was eight years older than Cicero; and, till 
Cicero’s fame surpassed his, he was accounted the most eloquent of all 
the Romans. He was Verres’s counsel in the prosecution conducted 
against him by Cicero. Seneca relates that his memory was so great 
that he could come out of an auction and repeat the catalogue backward. 
He died 50 B.c. 


thing, which, if you will believe Pythagoras, is the highest 
pitch of wisdom? or he who collected the dispersed in- 
habitants of the world, and united them in the bonds of 
social life? or he who confined the sounds of the voice, 
which used to seem infinite, to the marks of a few letters? 
or he who first observed the courses of the planets, their 
progressive motions, their laws? These were all great 
men. But they were greater still who invented food, and 
raiment, and houses; who introduced civilization among 
us, and armed .us against the wild beasts; by whom we 
were made sociable and polished, and so proceeded from 
the necessaries of life to its embellishments. For we have 
provided great entertainments for the ears by inventing 
and modulating the variety and nature of sounds; we 
have learned to survey the stars, not only those that are 
fixed, but also those which are improperly called wander- 
ing; and the man who has acquainted himself with all 
their revolutions and motions is fairly considered to have 
a soul resembling the soul of that Being who has created 
those stars in the heavens: for when Archimedes de- 
scribed in a sphere the motions of the moon, sun, and five 
planets, he did the very same thing as Plato’s God, in his 
Timezus, who made the world, causing one revolution to 
adjust motions differing as much as possible in their 
slowness and velocity. Now, allowing that what we see 
in the world could not be effected without a God, Archi- 
medes could not have imitated the same motions in his 
sphere without a divine soul. 

XXVI. To me, indeed, it appears that even those studies 
which are more common and in greater esteem are not 
without some divine energy: so that I do not consider 
that a poet can produce a serious and sublime poem with- 
out some divine impulse working on his mind; nor do I 
think that eloquence, abounding with sonorous words and 
fruitful sentences, can flow thus without something be- 
yond mere_human power. But as to philosophy, that is 
the parent of all the arts: what can we call that but, as 
Plato says, a gift, or, as I express it, an invention, of the 
Gods? This it was which first taught us the worship of 
the Gods; and then led us on to justice, which arises from 
the human race being formed into society; and after that 


it imbued us with modesty and elevation of soul. This 
it was which dispersed darkness from our souls, as it is 
dispelled from our eyes, enabling us to see all things that 
are above or below, the beginning, end, and middle of ev- 
erything. JI am convinced entirely that that which could 
effect so many and such great things must be a divine 
power. For what is memory of words and circumstances ? 
What, too, is invention? Surely they are things than 
which nothing greater can be conceived in a God! ForlI 
do not imagine the Gods to be delighted with nectar and 
ambrosia, or with Juventas presenting them with a cup; 
nor do I put any faith in Homer, who says that Ganymede 
was carried away by the Gods on account of his beauty, 
in order to give Jupiter his wine. Too weak reasons for 
doing Laomedon such injury! These were mere inven- 
tions of Homer, who gave his Gods the imperfections of 
men, I would rather that he had given men the perfec- 
tions of the Gods! those perfections, I mean, of uninter- 
rupted health, wisdom, invention, memory.. Therefore the 
soul (which is, as I say, divine) is, as Euripides more bold- 
ly expresses it,a God. And thus, if the divinity be air or 
fire, the soul of man is the same; for as that celestial nat- 
ure has nothing earthly or humid about it, in like manner 
the soul of man is also free from both these qualities: but 
if it is of that fifth kind of nature, first introduced by Ar- 
istotle, then both Gods and souls are of the same. 
XXVII. As this is my opinion, I have explained it in 
these very words, in my book on Consolation. The ori- 
gin of the soul of man is not to be found upon earth, for 
there is nothing in the soul of a mixed or concrete nature, 
or that has any appearance of being formed or made out 
of the earth; nothing even humid, or airy, or fiery. For 
what is there in natures of that kind which has the power 
of memory, understanding, or thought? which can recol- 
lect the past, foresee the future, and comprehend the pres- 
ent? for these capabilities are confined to divine beings; 
nor can we discover any source from which men could de- 
rive them, but from God. There is therefore a peculiar 
? This treatise is one which has not come down to us, but which had 

been lately composed by Cicero in order to comfort himself for the loss 
of his daughter. 


nature and power in the soul, distinct from those natures 
which are more known and familiar to us. Whatever, 
then, that is which thinks, and which has understanding, 
and volition, and a principle of life, is heavenly and divine, 
and on that account must necessarily be eternal; nor can 
God himself, who is known to us, be conceived to be any- 
thing else except a soul free and unembarrassed, distinct 
from all mortal concretion, acquainted with everything, 
and giving motion to everything, and itself endued with 
perpetual motion. 

XXVIII. Of this kind and nature is the intellect of man. 
Where, then, is this intellect seated, and of what character 
is it? where is your own, and what is its character? Are 
you able to tell? If I have not faculties for knowing all 
that I could desire to know, will you not even allow me to 
make use of those which I have? The soul has not suffi- 
cient capacity to comprehend itself; yet, the soul, like the 
eye, though it has no distinct view of itself, sees other 
things: it does not see (which is of least consequence) its 
own shape; perhaps not, though it possibly may; but we 
will pass that by: but it certainly sees that it has vigor, 
sagacity, memory, motion, and velocity; these are all great, 
divine, eternal properties. What its appearance is, or 
where it dwells, it is not necessary even to inquire. As 
when we behold, first of all, the beauty and brilliant ap- 
pearance of the heavens; secondly, the vast velocity of its 
revolutions, beyond power of our imagination to conceive ; 
then the vicissitudes of nights and days, the fourfold divis- 
ion of the seasons, so well adapted to the ripening of the 
fruits of the earth, and the temperature of our bodies: 
and after that we look up to the sun, the moderator and 
governor of all these things; and view the moon, by the 
increase and decrease of its light, marking, as it were, and 
appointing our holy days; and see the five planets, borne 
on in the same circle, divided into twelve parts, preserving 
the same course with the greatest regularity, but with ut- 
terly dissimilar motions among themselves; and the night- 
ly appearance of the heaven, adorned on all sides with 
stars; then, the globe of the earth, raised above the sea, 
and placed in the centre of the universe, inhabited and cul- 
tivated in its two opposite extremities, one of which, the 


place of our habitation, is situated towards the north pole, 
under the seven stars: 

Where the cold northern blasts, with horrid sound, 
Harden to ice the snowy cover’d ground ; 

the other, towards the south pole, is unknown to us, but is 
called by the Greeks ayrixOova: the other parts are uncul- 
tivated, because they are either frozen with cold, or burned 
up with heat; but where we dwell, it never fails, in its sea- 
son, : 
To yield a placid sky, to bid the trees 

Assume the lively verdure of their leaves: 

The vine to bud, and, joyful in its shoots, 
Foretell the approaching vintage of its fruits : 
The ripen’d corn to sing, while all around 

Full riv'lets glide; and flowers deck the ground: 

then the multitude of cattle, fit part for food, part for till- 
ing the ground, others for carrying us, or for clothing us; 
and man himself, made, as it were, on purpose to contem- 
plate the heavens and the Gods, and to pay adoration to 
them: lastly, the whole earth, and wide extending seas, 
given to man’s use. When we view these and numberless 
other things, can we doubt that they have some being who 
presides over them, or has made them (if, indeed, they 
have been made, as is the opinion of Plato, or if, as Aris- 
totle thinks, they are eternal), or who at all events is the 
regulator of so immense a fabric and so great a blessing 
to men? Thus, though you see not the soul of man, as 
you see not the Deity, yet, as by the contemplation of his 
works you are led to acknowledge a God, so you must own 
the divine power of the soul, from its remembering things, 
from its invention, from the quickness of its motion, and 
from all the beauty of virtue. Where, then, is it seated, 
you will say? 

XXIX. In my opinion, it is seated in the head, and I can 
bring you reasons for my adopting that opinion. At pres- 
ent, let the soul reside where it will, you certainly have 
one in you. Should you ask what its nature is? It has 
one peculiarly its own; but admitting it to consist of fire, 
or air, it does not affect the present question. Only ob- 
serve this, that as you are convinced there is a God, though 


you are ignorant where he resides, and what shape he is 
of; in like manner you ought to feel assured that you have 
a soul, though you cannot satisfy yourself of the place of 
its residence, nor its form. In our knowledge of the soul, 
unless we are grossly ignorant of natural philosophy, we 
cannot but be satisfied that it has nothing but what is 
simple, unmixed, uncompounded, and single; and if this is 
admitted, then it cannot be separated, nor divided, nor dis- 
“persed, nor parted, and therefore it cannot perish; for to 
perish implies a parting-asunder, a division, a disunion, of 
those parts which, while it subsisted, were held together 
by some band. And it was because he was influenced by 
these and similar reasons that Socrates neither looked out 
for anybody to plead for him when he was accused, nor 
begged any favor from his judges, but maintained a man- 
ly freedom, which was the effect not of pride, but of the 
true greatness of his soul; and on the last day of his life 
he held. a long discourse on this subject; and a few days 
before, when he might have been easily freed from his con- 
finement, he refused to be so; and when he had almost 
actually hold of that deadly cup, he spoke with the air of 
a man not forced to die, but ascending into heaven. 
XXX. For so indeed he thought himself, and thus he 
spoke: “That there were two ways, and that the souls 
of men, at their departure from the body, took different 
roads; for those which were polluted with vices that are 
common to men, and which had given themselves up en- 
tirely to unclean desires, and had become so blinded by 
them as to have habituated themselves to all manner of 
debauchery and profligacy, or to have laid detestable 
schemes for the ruin of their country, took a road wide of 
that which led to the assembly of the Gods; but they who 
had preserved themselves upright and chaste, and free 
from the slightest contagion of the body, and had always 
kept themselves as far as possible at a distance from it, 
and while on earth had proposed to themselves as a model 
the life of the Gods, found the return to those beings from 
whom they had come an easy one.” Therefore, he argues, 
that all good and wise men should take example from the 
_ swans, who are considered sacred to Apollo, not without 
reason, but particularly because they seem to have received 


the gift of divination from him, by which, foreseeing how 
happy it is to die, they leave this world with singing and 
joy. Nor can any one doubt of this, unless it happens to 
us who think with care and anxiety about the soul (as is 
often the case with those who look earnestly at the setting 
sun), to lose the sight of it entirely ; and so the mind’s eye, 
viewing itself, sometimes grows dull, and for that reason 
we become remiss in our contemplation. Thus our reason- 
ing is borne about, harassed with doubts and anxieties, not 
knowing how to: proceed, but measuring back again those 
dangerous tracts which it has passed, like a boat tossed 
about on the boundless ocean. But these reflections are 
of long standing, and borrowed from the Greeks. But 
Cato left this world in such a manner as if he were de- 
lighted that he had found an opportunity of dying; for 
that God who presides in us forbids our departure hence 
without his leave. But when God himself has given us a 
just cause, as formerly he did to Socrates, and lately to 
Cato, and often to many others—in such a case, certainly 
every man of sense would gladly exchange this darkness 
for that light: not that he would forcibly break from the 
chains that held him, for that would be against the law; 
but, like a man released from prison by a magistrate or 
some lawful anthority, so he too would walk away, being 
released and discharged by God. For the whole life of a 
philosopher is, as the same philosopher says, a meditation 
on death. 

XXXI. For what else is it that we do, when we call off 
our minds from pleasure, that is to say, from our attention 
to the body, from the managing our domestic estate, which 
is a sort of handmaid and servant of the body, or from du- 
ties of a public nature, or from all other serious business 
whatever? What else is it, I say, that we do, but invite 
the soul to reflect on itself? oblige it to converse with it- 
self, and, as far as possible, break off its acquaintance with 
the body? Now, to separate the soul from the body, is 
to learn to die, and nothing else whatever. Wherefore take 
my advice; and let us meditate on this, and separate onr- 
selves as far as possible from the body, that is to say, let 
us accustom ourselves to die. This will be enjoying a life 
like that of heaven even while we remain on earth; and 


when we are carried thither and released from these bonds, 
our souls will make their progress with more rapidity ; for 
the spirit which has always been fettered by the bonds of 
the body, even when it is disengaged, advances more slow- 
ly, just as those do who have worn actual fetters for many 

ears: but when we have arrived at this emancipation 
from the bonds of the body, then indeed we shall begin to 
live, for this present life is really death, which I could say 
a good deal in lamentation for if I chose. 

A, You have lamented it sufficiently in your book on 
Consolation ; and when I read that, there is nothing which 
I desire more than to leave these things; but that desire 
is increased a great deal by what I have just heard. 

M. The time will come, and that soon, and with equal 
certainty, whether you hang back or press forward; for 
time flies. But death is so far from being an evil, as it 
lately appeared to you, that I am inclined to suspect, not 
that there is no other thing which is an evil to man, but 
rather that there is nothing else which is a real good to 
him; if, at least, it is true that we become thereby either 
Gods ourselves, or companions of the Gods. However, 
this is not of so much consequence, as there are some of 
us here who will not allow this. But I will not leave off 
discussing this point till I have convinced you that death 
can, upon no consideration whatever, be an evil. 

A. How can it, after what I now know? 

M. Do you ask how it can? There are crowds of ar- 
guers who contradict this; and those not only Epicureans, 
whom I regard very little, but, somehow or other, almost 
every man of letters; and, above all, my favorite Diczear- 
chus is very strenuous in opposing the immortality of the 
soul: for he has written three books, which are entitled 
Lesbiacs, because the discourse was held at Mitylene, in 
which he prove that souls are mortal. The Stoics, 
on the other hand, allow us as long a time for enjoyment 
as the life of a raven; they allow the soul to exist a great 
while, but are against its eternity. 

XXXII. Are you willing to hear then why, even allow- 
ing this, death cannot be an evil. 

A. As you please; but no one shall drive me from my 
belief in mortality. 


M. I commend you, indeed, for that; though we should 
not be too confident in our belief of anything; for we are 
frequently disturbed by some subtle conclusion. We give 
way and change our opinions even in things that are more 
evident than this; for in this there certainly is some ob- 
security. Therefore, should anything of this kind happen, 
it is well to be on our guard. 

A, You are right in that; but I will provide against 
any accident. 

M. Have you any objection to our dismissing our friends 
the Stoics—those, [ mean, who allow that the souls exist 
after they have left the body, but yet deny that they exist 
forever ? 

A. We certainly may dismiss the consideration of those 
men who admit that which is the most difficult point in 
the whole question, namely, that a soul can exist inde- 
pendently of the body, and yet refuse to grant that which 
is not only very easy to believe, but which is even the 
natural consequence of the concession which they have 
made—that if they can exist for a length of time, they 
most likely do so forever. 

M. You take it right; that is the very thing. Shall we 
give, therefore, any credit to Panetius, when he dissents 
from his master, Plato? whom he everywhere calls divine, 
the wisest, the holiest of men, the Homer of philosophers, 
and whom he opposes in nothing except this single opinion 
of the soul’s immortality: for he maintains what nobody 
denies, that everything which has been generated will per- 
ish, and that even souls are generated, which he thinks 
appears from their resemblance to those of the men who 
begot them; for that likeness is as apparent in the turn 
of their minds as in their bodies. But he brings another 
reason—that there is nothing which is sensible of pain 
which is not also liable to disease; but whatever is liable 
to disease must be liable to death. The soul is sensible 
of pain, therefore it is liable to perish. 

XXXIII. These arguments may be refuted; for they 
proceed from his not knowing that, while discussing the 
subject of the immortality of the soul, he is speaking of 
the intellect, which is free from ‘all turbid motion; but 
not of those parts of the mind in which those disorders, 


anger and lust, have their seat, and which he whom he is 
opposing, when he argues thus, imagines to be distinct 
and separate from the mind. Now this resemblance is 
more remarkable in beasts, whose souls are void of reason. 
But the likeness in men consists more in the configuration 
of the bodies: and it is of no little consequence in what 
bodies the soul is lodged; for there are many things which 
depend on the body that give an edge to the soul, many 
which blunt it. Aristotle, indeed, says that all men of 
great genius are melancholy; so that I should not have 
been displeased to have been somewhat duller than I am. 
He instances many, and, as if it were matter of fact, brings 
his reasons for it. But if the power of those things that 
proceed from the body be so great as to influence the 
mind (for they are the things, whatever they are, that oc- 
casion this likeness), still that does not necessarily prove 
why a similitude of souls should be generated. I say 
nothing about cases of unlikeness. I wish Panzetius could 
be here: he lived with Africanus. I would inquire of 
him which of his family the nephew of Africanus’s brother 
was like? Possibly he may in person have resembled his 
father; but in his manners he was so like every profligate, 
abandoned man, that it was impossible to be more so. 
Whom did the grandson of P. Crassus, that wise and elo- 
quent and most distinguished man, resemble? © Or the re- 
lations and sons of many other excellent men, whose names 
there is no occasion to mention? But what are we doing? 
Have we forgotten that our purpose was, when we had 
sufficiently spoken on the subject of the immortality of 
the soul, to prove that, even if the soul did perish, there 
would be, even then, no evil in death ? 

A, I remembered it very well; but I had no dislike to 
your digressing a little from your original design, while 
you were talking of the soul’s immortality. 

M. I perceive you have sublime thoughts, and are eager 
to mount up to heaven. 

XXXIV. I am not without hopes myself that such may 
be our fate. But admit what they assert—that the soul 
does not continue to exist after death. 

A, Should it be so, I see that we are then deprived of 
the hopes of a happier life. 


MM. But what is there of evil in that opinion? For let 
the soul perish as the body: is there any pain, or indeed 
any feeling at all, in the body after death? No one, in- 
deed, asserts that; though Epicurus charges Democritus 
with saying so; but the disciples of Democritus deny it. 
No sense, therefore, remains in the soul; for the soul is 
nowhere. Where, then, is the evil? for there is nothing 
but these two things. Is it because the mere separation 
of the soul and body cannot be effected without pain? 
But even should that be granted, how small a pain must 
that be! Yet I think that it is false, and that it is very 
often unaccompanied by any sensation at all, and some- 
times even attended with pleasure; but certainly the whole 
must be very trifling, whatever it is, for it is instantaneous, 
What makes us uneasy, or rather gives us pain, is the 
leaving all the good things of life. But just consider if I 
might not more properly say, leaving the evils of life; 
only there is no reason for my now occupying myself in 
bewailing the life of man, and yet I might, with very good 
reason. But what occasion is there, when what I am la- 
boring to prove is that no one is miserable after death, to 
make life more miserable by lamenting over it? I have 
done that in the book which I wrote, in order to comfort 
myself as well as I could. If, then, our inquiry is after 
truth, death withdraws us from evil, not from good. This 
subject is indeed so copiously handled by Hegesias, the 
Cyrenaic philosopher, that he is said to have been forbid- 
den by Ptolemy from delivering his lectures in the schools, 
because some who heard him made away with themselves. 
There is, too, an epigram of Callimachus’ on Cleombrotus 
of Ambracia, who, without any misfortune having befall- 
en him, as he says, threw himself from a wall into the sea, 
after he had read a book of Plato’s. The book I mention- 
ed of that Hegesias is called ’Aroxaprepay, or “A Man who 

? The epigram is, 

Eirras “H\ce xaipe, KAeduBportos “OuBpakiwrtns 
nrat ap’ iWndod teixeos eis ’Aidnv, 

&fcov ovdev tdwv Oavatov Kakov, dAAa TAdt@vos 
ty Par ; 
év TO mepi Wixns ypaup’ avadreEdpuevos. 

Which may be translated, perhaps, 

Farewell, O sun, Cleombrotus exclaim’d, 

Then plunged from off a height beneath the sea ; 
Stung by pain, of no disgrace ashamed, 

But moved by Plato’s high philosophy. 


starves himself,” in which a man is represented as killing 
himself by starvation, till he is prevented by his friends, 
in reply to whom he reckons up all the miseries of human 
life. I might do the same, though not so fully as he, who 
thinks it not worth any man’s while to live. I pass over 
others. Was it even worth my while to live, for, had I 
died before I was deprived of the comforts of my own 
family, and of the honors which I received for my public 
services, would not death have taken me from the evils of 
life rather than from its blessings ? 

XXXV. Mention, therefore, some one, who never knew 
distress; who never received any blow from fortune. 
The great Metellus had four distinguished sons; but 
Priam had fifty, seventeen of whom were born to him by 
his lawful wife. Fortune had the same power over both, 
though she exercised it but on one; for Metellus was laid 
on his funeral pile by a great. company of sons and daugh- 

ters, grandsons, and granddaughters; but Priam fell by © 

the hand of an enemy, after having fled to the altar, and 
having seen himself deprived of all his numerous progeny. 
Had he died before the death of his sons and the ruin of 
his kingdom, | 

With all his mighty wealth elate, 

Under rich canopies of state ; . 
would he then have been taken from good or from evil? 
It would indeed, at that time, have appeared that he was 
being taken away from good; yet surely it would have 
turned out advantageous for him; nor should we have 
had these mournful verses, 

Lo! these all perish’d in one flaming pile ; 
The foe old Priam did of life beguile, 
And with his blood, thy altar, Jove, defile. 

As if anything better could have happened to him at that 

time than to lose his life in that manner; but yet, if it had 

befallen him sooner, it would have prevented all those con- 

sequences; but even as it was, it released him from any) 

further sense of them. The case of our friend Pompey’ 
1 This is alluded to by Juvenal : 

Provida Pompeio dederat Campania febres 
Optandas: sed multe urbes et publica vota 
Vicerunt. Igitur Fortuna ipsius et Urbis, 

Servatum victo caput abstulit.—Sat. x. 283. 


was something better: once, when he had been very ill 
at Naples, the Neapolitans, on his recovery, put crowns 
on their heads, as did those of Puteoli; the people flocked 
from the country to congratulate him—it is a Grecian 
custom, and a foolish one; still it is a sign of good fort- 
une. But the question is, had he died, would he have 
been taken from good, or from evil? Certainly from 
evil. He would not have been engaged in a war with his 
father-in-law ;* he would not have taken up arms before 
he was prepared; he would not have left his own house, 
nor fled from Italy; he would not, after the loss of his 
army, have fallen unarmed into the hands of slaves, and 
been put to death by them; his children would not have 
been destroyed; nor would his whole fortune have come 
into the possession of the conquerors. Did not he, then, 
who, if he had died at that time, would have died in all 
his glory, owe all the great and terrible misfortunes into 
which he subsequently fell to the prolongation of his life 
at that time ? 

XXXVI. These calamities are avoided by death, for 
even though they should never happen, there is a possibil- 
ity that they may; but it never occurs to a man that such 
a disaster may befall him himself. Every one hopes to 
be as happy as Metellus: as if the number of the happy 
exceeded that of the miserable; or as if there were any 
certainty in human affairs; or, again, as if there were 
more rational foundation for hope than fear. But should 
we grant them even this, that men are by death deprived 
of good things; would it follow that the dead are there- 
fore in need of the good things of life, and are miserable 
on that account? Certainly they must necessarily say so. 
Can he who does not exist be in need of anything? To 
be in need of has a melancholy sound, because it in effect 
amounts to this—he had, but he has not; he regrets, he 
looks back upon, he wants. Such are, I suppose, tlie dis- 

1 Pompey’s second wife was Julia, the daughter of Julius Caesar. 
She died the year before the death of Crassus, in Parthia. Virgil 
speaks of Caesar and Pompey as relations, using the same expression 
(socer) as Cicero: 

Aggeribus socer Alpinis atque arce Moneci 
Descendens, gener adversis instructus Eois.—Aan. vi. 830. 


tresses of one who is in need of. Is he deprived of eyes? 
to be blind is misery. Is he destitute of children? not to 
have them is misery. These considerations apply to the 
living, but the dead are neither in need of the blessings 
of life, nor of life itself. But when I am speaking of the 
dead, lam speaking of those who have no existence. But 
would any one say of us, who do exist, that we want 
horns or wings? Certainly not. Should it be asked, 
why not? the answer would be, that not to have what 
neither custom nor nature has fitted you for would not 
imply a want of them, even though you were sensible that 
you had them not. This argument should be pressed 
over and over again, after that point has once been estab- 
lished, which, if souls are mortal, there can be no dispute 
about—I mean, that. the destruction of them by death is 
so entire as to remove even the least suspicion of any 
sense remaining. When, therefore, this point is once well 
grounded and established, we must correctly define what 
the term to want means; that there may be no mistake 
in the word. To want, then, signifies this: to be without 
that which you would be glad to have; for inclination for 
a thing is*implied in the word want, excepting when we 
use the word in an entirely different sense, as we do when 
we say that a-fever is wanting to any one. For it admits 
of a different interpretation, when you are without a cer- 
tain thing, and are sensible that you are without it, but 
yet can easily dispense with having it. “To want,” then, 
is an expression which you cannot apply to the dead; nor 
is the mere fact of wanting something necessarily lamen- 
table. The proper expression ought to be, “that they 
want a good,” and that is an evil. 

But a living man does not want a good, unless he is dis- 
tressed without it; and yet, we. can easily understand 
how any man alive can be without a kingdom. But this 
cannot be predicated of you with any accuracy: it might 
have been asserted of Tarquin, when he was driven from 
his kingdom. But when such an expression is used re- 
specting the dead, it is absolutely unintelligible. For to 
want implies to be sensible; but the dead are insensible: 
therefore, the dead can be in no want. 

XXXVII. But what occasion is there to philosophize 


here in a matter with which we see that philosophy is but 
little concerned? How often have not only our generals, 
but whole armies, rushed on certain death! But if it had 
been a. thing to be feared, L. Brutus would never have 
fallen in fight, to prevent the return of that tyrant whom 
he had expelled; nor would Decius the father have been 
slain in fighting with the Latins; nor would his son, 
when engaged with the Etruscans, nor his grandson with 
Pyrrhus, have exposed themselves to the enemy’s darts. 
Spain would never have seen, in one campaign, the Scip- 
ios fall fighting for their country; nor would the plains 
of Cannz have witnessed the death of Paulus and Gemi- 
nus, or Venusia that of Marcellus; nor would the Latins 
have beheld the death of Albinus, nor the Leucanians 
that of Gracchus. But are any of these miserable now? 
Nay, they were not so even at the first moment after they 
had breathed their last; nor can any one be miserable af- 
ter he has lost all sensation. Oh, but the mere circum- 
stance of being without sensation is miserable. It might 
be so if being without sensation were the same thing as 
wanting it; but as it is evident there can be nothing “of 
any kind in that which has no existence, what can there 
be afflicting to that which can neither feel want nor be 
sensible of anything? We might be said to have repeat- 
ed this over too often, only that here lies all that the soul 
shudders at from the fear of death. For whoever can 
clearly apprehend that which is as manifest as the light— 
that when both soul and body are consumed, and there 
is a total destruction, then that which was an animal be- 
comes nothing—will clearly see that there is no difference 
between a Hippocentaur, which never had existence, and 
King Agamemnon; and that M. Camillus is no more con- 
cerned about this present civil war than I was at the 
sacking of Rome, when he was living. 

XXXVIII. Why, then, should Camillus be affected with 
the thoughts of these things happening three hundred and 
fifty years after his time? And why should I be uneasy 
if I were to expect that some nation might possess itself 
of this city ten thousand years hence? Because so great 
is our regard for our country, as not to be measured by 
our own feeling, but by its own actual safety. 




Death, then, which threatens us daily from a thousand 
accidents, and which, by reason of the shortness of life, 
can never be far off, does not deter a wise man from mak- 
ing such provision for his country and his family. as he 
hopes may last forever; and from regarding posterity, of 
which he can never have any real perception, as belonging 
to himself. Wherefore a man may act for eternity, even 
though he be persuaded that his soul is mortal; not, in- 
deed, from a desire of glory, which he will be insensible 
of, but from a principle of virtue, which glory will inevita- 
bly attend, though that is not his object. The process, 
indeed, of nature is this: that just in the same manner as 
our birth was the beginning of things with us, so death 
will be the end; and as we were noways concerned with 
anything before we were born, so neither shall we be after 
we are dead. And in this state of things where can the 
evil be, since death has no connection with either the 
living or the dead? The one have no existence at all, the 
other are not yet affected by it. They who make the least 
of death consider it as having a great resemblance to sleep ; 
as if any one would choose to live ninety years on condi- 
tion that, at the expiration of sixty, he should sleep out 
the remainder. The very swine would not accept of life 
on those terms, much less I. Endymion, indeed, if you 
listen to fables, slept once on a time on Latmus, a moun- 
tain of Caria, and for such a length of time that I imagine 
he is not as yet awake. Do you think that he is concern- 
ed at the Moon’s. being in difficulties, though it was by 
her that he was thrown into that sleep, in order that she 
might kiss him while sleeping. For what should he be 
concerned for who has not even any sensation? You look 
on sleep as an image of death, and you take that on you 
daily ; and have you, then, any doubt that there is no sen- 
sation in death, when you see there is none in sleep, which 
is its near resemblance ? 

XXXIX. Away, then, with those follies, which are little 
better than the old women’s dreams, such as that it is mis- 
erable to die before our time. What time do you mean? 
That of nature? But she has only lent you life, as she 
might lend you money, without fixing any certain time 
for its repayment. Have you any grounds of complaint, 


then, that she recalls it at her pleasure? for you received 
it on these terms. They that complain thus allow that if 
a young child dies, the survivors ought to bear his loss 
with equanimity ; that if an infant in the cradle dies, they 
ought not even to utter a complaint; and yet nature has 
been more severe with them in demanding back what she 
gave. They answer by saying that such have not tasted 
the sweets of life; while the other had begun to conceive 
hopes of great happiness, and, indeed, had begun to realize 
them. Men judge better in other things, and allow a part 
to be preferable to none. Why do they not admit the 
same estimate in life? Though Callimachus does not 
speak amiss in saying that more tears had flowed from 
Priam than his son; yet they are thought happier who 
die after they have reached old age. It would be hard to 
say why; for I do not apprehend that any one, if a longer 
life were granted to him, would find it happier. There is 
nothing more agreeable to a man than prudence, which old 
age most certainly bestows on a man, though it may strip 
him of everything else. But what age is long, or what is 
there at all long toa man? Does not 

Old age, though unregarded, still attend 
On childhood’s pastimes, as the cares of men? 

But because there is nothing beyond old age, we call that 
long: all these things are said to be long or short, accord- 
ing to the proportion of time they were given us for. 
Artistotle saith there is a kind of insect near the river 
Hypanis, which runs from a certain part of Europe into 
the Pontus, whose life consists but of one day; those that 
die at the eighth hour die in full age; those who die 
when. the sun sets are very old, especially when the days 
are at the longest. Compare our longest life with eter- 
nity, and we shall be found almost as short-lived as those 
little animals. 

XL. Let us, then, despise all these follies—for what 
softer name can I give to such levities?—and let us lay 
the foundation of our happiness in the strength and great- 
ness of our minds, in a contempt and disregard of all 
earthly things, and in the practice of every virtue. For 
at present we are enervated by the softness of our imagi- 


nations, so that, should we leave this world before the 
promises of our fortune-tellers are made good to us, we 
should think ourselves deprived of some great advantages, 
and seem disappointed and forlorn. But if, through life, 
we are in continual suspense, still expecting, still desiring, 
and are in continual pain and torture, good Gods! how 
pleasant must that journey be which ends in security and 
ease! How pleased am I with Theramenes! Of how ex- 
alted a soul does he appear! For, although we never read 
of him without tears, yet that illustrious man is not to be 
lamented in his death, who, when he had been imprisoned 
by the command of the thirty tyrants, drank off, at one 
draught, as if he had been thirsty, the poisoned cup, and 
threw the remainder out of it with such force that it 
sounded as it fell; and then, on hearing the sound of the 
drops, he said, with a smile, “I drink this to the most ex- 
cellent Critias,’ who had been his most bitter enemy; for 
it is customary among the Greeks, at their banquets, to 
name the person to whom they intend to deliver the cup. 
This celebrated man was pleasant to the last, even when 
he had received the poison into his bowels, and truly fore- 
told the death of that man whom he named when he drank 
the poison, and that death soon followed. Who that 
thinks death an evil could approve of the evenness of tem- 
per in this great man at the instant of dying? Socrates 
came, a few years after, to the same prison and the same 
cup by as great iniquity on the part of his judges as the 
tyrants displayed when they executed Theramenes. What 
a speech is that which Plato makes him deliver before his 
judges, after they had condemned him to death! 

XLI. “I am not without hopes, O judges, that it is a 
favorable circumstance for me that I am condemned to 
die; for one of these two things must necessarily happen 
—either that death will deprive me entirely of all sense, or 
else that, by dying, I shall go from hence into some other 
place; wherefore, if all sense is utterly extinguished, and if 
death is like that sleep which sometimes is so undisturbed 
as to be even without the visions of dreams—in that case, 
O ye good Gods! what gain is it to die? or what length 
of days can be imagined which would be preferable to 
such anight? And if the constant course of future tiine 


is to resemble that night, who is happier than I am? But 
if, on the other hand, what is said be true, namely, that 
death is but a removal to those regions where the souls of 
the departed dwell, then that state must be more happy 
still to have escaped from those who call themselves 
judges, and to appear before such as are truly so—Minos, 
Rhadamanthus, Alacus, Triptolemus—and to meet with 
those who have lived with justice and probity!’ Can this 
change of abode appear otherwise than great to you? 
What bounds can you set to the value of conversing with 
Orpheus, and Muszeus, and Homer, and Hesiod? I would 
even, were it possible, willingly die often, in order to prove 
the certainty of what I speak of. What delight must it 
be to meet with Palamedes, and Ajax, and others, who 
have been betrayed by the iniquity of their judges! Then, 
also, should I experience the wisdom of even that king of 
kings, who led his vast troops to Troy, and the prudence 
of Ulysses and Sisyphus: nor should I then be condemned 
for prosecuting my inquiries on such subjects in the same 
way in which I have done here on earth. And even you, 
my judges, you, I mean, who have voted for my acquittal, 
do not you fear death, for nothing bad can befall a good 
man, whether he be alive or dead; nor are his concerns 
ever overlooked by the Gods; nor in my case either has 
this befallen me by chance; and I have nothing to charge 
those men with who accused or condemned me but the 
fact that they believed that they were doing me harm.” 
In this manner he proceeded. There is no part of his 
speech which I admire more than his last words: “ But it 
is time,” says he, “for me now to go hence, that I may 
die; and for you, that you may continue to live. Which 
condition of the two is the best, the immortal Gods know; 
but I do not believe that any mortal man does.” 

? This idea is beautifully expanded by Byron: 

Yet if, as holiest men have deem’d, there be 

A land of souls beyond that. sable shore 

To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee 

And sophist, madly vain of dubious lore, 

How sweet it were in concert to adore 

With those who made our mortal labors light, 

To hear each voice we fear’d to hear no more, 

Behold each mighty shade reveal’d to sight, 

The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who 8 | the right! 
hilde Harold, ii. 


XLII. Surely I would rather have had this man’s soul 
than all the fortunes of those who sat in judgment on 
him; although that very thing which he says no one ex- 
cept the Gods know, namely, whether life or death is most 
preferable, he knows himself, for he had previously stated 
his opinion on it; but he maintained to the last that fa- 
vorite maxim of his, of affirming nothing. And let us, 
too, adhere to this rule of not thinking anything an eyil 
which is a general provision of nature; and let us assure 
ourselves, that if death is an evil, it is an eternal evil, for 
death seems to be the end of a miserable life; but if death 
is a misery, there can be no end of that. But why do I 
mention Socrates, or Theramenes, men distinguished by the 
glory of virtue and wisdom? when a certain Lacedzmo- 
nian, whose name is not so much as known, held death 
in such contempt, that, when led to it by the ephori, he 
bore a cheerful and pleasant countenance; and, when he 
was asked by one of his enemies whether he despised the 
laws of Lycurgus, “ On the contrary,” answered he, “I am 
greatly obliged to him, for he has amerced me in a fine 
which I can pay without borrowing, or taking up money 
at interest.” This was a man worthy of Sparta. And I 
am almost persuaded of his innocence because of the 
greatness of his soul. Our own city has produced many 
such. But why should I name generals, and other men 
of high rank, when Cato could write that legions have 
marched with alacrity to that place from whence they 
never expected to return? With no less greatness of 
soul fell the Lacedemonians at Thermopyle, on whom Si- 
monides wrote the following epitaph : 

Go, stranger, tell the Spartans, here we lie, 
Who to support their laws durst boldly die.’ 

What was it that Leonidas, their general, said to them? 
* March on with courage, my Lacedemonians. To-night, 
perhaps, we shall sup in the regions below.” This was a 
brave nation while the laws of Lycurgus were in force. 
One of them, when a Persian had said to him in conversa- 

1 The epitaph in the original is: 

7O Eeiv’ dyyetAov Aakedaipovior Ste THSdE 
keineba, Tois Keivey mecBdpevor vomipots. 


tion, “ We shall hide the sun from your sight by the num. 
ber of our arrows and darts,” replied, “ We shall fight, 
then, in the shade.” Dol talk of their men? How great 
was that Lacedemonian woman, who had sent her son to 
battle, and when she heard that he was slain, said, “I bore 
him for that purpose, that you might have a man who 
durst die for his country!” However, it is a matter of 
notoriety that the Spartans were bold and hardy, for the 
discipline of a republic has great influence. 

XLII. What, then, have we not reason to admire 
Theodorus the Cyrenean, a philosopher of no small dis- 
tinction, who, when Lysimachus threatened to crucify him, 
bade him keep those menaces for his courtiers? “To 
Theodorus it makes no difference whether he rot in the 
air or underground.” By which saying of the philoso- 
pher I am reminded to say something of the custom of 
funerals and sepulture, and of funeral ceremonies, which 
is, indeed, not a difficult subject, especially if we recollect 
what has been before said about insensibility. The opin- 
ion of Socrates respecting this matter is clearly stated in 
the book which treats of his death, of which we have al- 
ready said so much; for when he had discussed the im- 
mortality of the soul, and when the time of his dying was 
approaching rapidly, being asked by Criton how he would 
be buried, “I have taken a great deal of pains,” saith he, 
“my friends, to no purpose, for I have not convinced our 
Criton that I shall fly from hence, and leave no part of 
me behind. Notwithstanding, Criton, if you can overtake 
me, wheresoever you get hold of me, bury me as you 
please: but believe me, none of you will be able to catch 
me when I have flown away from hence.” That was ex- 
cellently said, inasmuch as he allows his friend to do as 
he pleased, and yet shows his indifference about anything 
of this kind. Diogenes was rougher, though of the same 
opinion; but in his character of a Cynic he expressed him- 
self in a somewhat harsher manner; he ordered himself to 
be thrown anywhere without being buried. And when his 
friends replied, “ What! to the birds and beasts?” “ By no 
means,” saith he; “place my staff near me, that I may 
drive them away.” “How can you do that,” they answer, 
“for you will not perceive them?” “How am I then in- 


jured by being torn by those animals,if I have no sensa- 
tion?” Anaxagoras, when he was at the point of death 
at Lampsacus, and was asked by his friends, whether, if 
anything should happen to him, he would not choose to 
be carried to Clazomene, his country, made this excellent 
answer, ‘ There is,” says he, “no occasion for that, for 
all places are at an equal distance from the infernal re- 
gions.” There is one thing to be observed with respect 
to the whole subject of burial, that it relates to the body, 
whether the soul live or die. Now, with regard to the 
body, it is clear that, whether the soul live or die, that has 
no sensation. 

XLIV. But all things are full of errors. Achilles drags 
Hector, tied to his chariot; he thinks, I suppose, he tears 
his flesh, and that Hector feels the pain of it; therefore, 
he avenges himself on him, as he imagines. But Hecuba 
bewails this as a sore misfortune : 

I saw (a dreadful sight) great Hector slain, 
Dragg’d at Achilles’ car along the plain. 

What Hector? or how long will he be Hector? Accius 
is better in this, and Achilles, too, is sometimes reasonable : 

I Hector’s body to his sire convey’d, 
Hector I sent to the infernal shade. 

It was not Hector that you dragged along, but a body that 
had been Hector’s. Here another starts from underground, 
and will not suffer his mother to sleep: 

To thee I call, my once-loved parent, hear, 
Nor longer with thy sleep relieve thy care ; 
Thine eye which pities not is closed—arise ; 
Ling’ring I wait the unpaid obsequies. 

When these verses are ‘sung with a slow and melancholy 
tune, so as to affect the whole theatre with sadness, one 
can scarce help thinking those unhappy that are unburied: 

Ere the devouring dogs and hungry vultures...... 

He is afraid he shall not have the use of his limbs so well 
if they are torn to pieces, but is under no such apprehen- 
sions if they are burned: 



Nor leave my naked bones, my poor remains, 

To shameful violence and bloody’ stains. 
I do not understand what he could fear who could pour 
forth such excellent verses to the sound of the flute. We 
must, therefore, adhere to this, that nothing is to be re- 
garded after we are dead, though many people revenge 
themselves on their dead enemies. Thyestes pours forth 
several curses in some good lines of Ennius, praying, first 
ef all, that Atreus may perish by a shipwreck, which is 
certainly a very terrible thing, for such a death is not free 
from very grievous sensations. Then follow these un- 
meaning expressions : 


_On the sharp rock his mangled carcass lie, 

His entrails torn, to hungry birds a prey! 

May he convulsive writhe his bleeding side, 

And with his clotted gore the stones be dyed! 

The rocks themselves were not more destitute of feeling 
than he who was hanging to them by his side; though 
Thyestes imagines he is wishing him the greatest torture. 
It would be torture, indeed, if he were sensible; but as he 
is not, it can be none; then how very unmeaning is this: 

Let him, still hovering o’er the Stygian wave, 
~ Ne’er reach the body’s peaceful port, the grave! 

You see under what mistaken notions all this is said. He 
imagines. the body has its haven, and that the dead are at 
rest in their graves. Pelops was greatly to blame in not 
having informed and taught his son what regard was due 
to everything. 

XLV. But what occasion is there to animadvert on the 
opinions of individuals, when we may observe whole na- 
tions to fall into all sorts of errors? The Egyptians em- 
balm their dead, and keep them in their houses; the Per- 
sians dress them over with wax, and then bury them, that 
they may preserve their bodies as long as possible. It is 
customary with the Magi to bury none of their order, un- 
less they have been first torn by wild beasts. In Hyrca- 
nia, the people maintain dogs for the public use; the no- 
bles have their own—and we know that they have a good 
breed of dogs; but every one, according to his ability, 



provides himself with some, in order to be torn by them; 
and they hold that to be the best kind of interment. Chry- 
sippus, who is curious in all kinds of historical facts, has 
collected many other things of this kind; but some of them 
are so offensive as not to admit of being related. All that 
has been said of burying is not worth our regard with re- 
spect to ourselves, though it is not to be neglected as to 
our friends, provided we are thoroughly aware that the 
dead are insensible. But the living, indeed, should con- 
sider what is due to custom and opinion; only they should 
at the same time consider that the dead are noways inter- 
ested in it. But death truly is then met with the greatest 
tranquillity when the dying man can comfort himself with 
his own praise. No one dies too soon who has finished 
the course of perfect virtue. I myself have known many 
occasions when I have seemed in danger of immediate 
death; oh! how I wish it had come to me! for I have 
gained nothing by the delay. I had gone over and over 
again the duties of life; nothing remained but to contend 
with fortune. If reason, then, cannot sufficiently fortify 
us to enable us to feel a contempt for death, at all events 
let our past life prove that we have lived long enough, and 
even longer than was necessary; for notwithstanding the 
deprivation of sense, the dead are not without that ‘good 
which peculiarly belongs to them, namely, the praise and 
glory which they have acquired, even though they are not 
sensible of it. For although there be nothing i in glory to 
make it desirable, yet it follows virtue as its shadow; and 
the genuine judgment of the multitude on good men, if 
ever they form any, is more to their own praise than of 
any real advantage to the dead. . Yet I cannot say, how- 
ever it may be received, that Lycur gus and Solon have no 
‘glory from their laws, and fr om the political constitution 
which they established in their country; or that Themis- 
tocles and Epaminondas have not glory from their martial 

XLVI. For Neptune shall sooner bury Salamis itself 
with his waters than the memory of the trophies gained 
there; and the Beotian Leuctra shall perish sooner than 
the glory of that great battle. And longer still shall fame 
be before it deserts Curius, and Fabricius, and Calatinus, 


and the two Scipios, and the two Africani, and Maximus, 
and Marcellus, and Paulus, and Cato, and Leelius, and num- 
berless other heroes; and whoever has caught any resem- 
blance of them, not estimating it by common fame, but by 
the real applause of good men, may with confidence, when 
the occasion requires, approach death, on which we are 
sure that even if the chief good is not continued, at least 
no evil is. Such a man would even wish to die while in 
prosperity ; for all the favors that could be heaped on him 
would not be so agreeable to him as the loss of them would 
be painful. That speech of the Lacedzemonian seems to 
have the same meaning, who, when Diagoras the Rhodian, 
who had himself been a conqueror at the Olympic games, 
saw two of his own sons conquerors there on the same 
day, approached the old man, and, congratulating him, said, 
“ You should die now; Diagoras, for no greater happiness 
can possibly await you.” The Greeks look on these as 
great things; perhaps they think too highly of them, or, 
rather, they did so then. And so he who said this to Di- 
agoras, looking on it as something very glorious, that three 
men out of one family should have been conquerors there, 
thought it could answer no purpose to him to continue 
any longer in life, where he could only be exposed to a re- 
verse of fortune. 

-I might have given you a sufficient answer, as it seems 
to me, on this point, in a few words, as you had allowed 
the dead were not exposed to any positive evil; but I have 
spoken at greater length on the subject for this reason, be- 
cause this is our greatest consolation in the losing and be- 
wailing of our friends. For we ought to bear with mod- 
eration any grief which arises from ourselves, or is endured 
on our own account, lest we should seem to be too much 
influenced by self-love. But should we suspect our de- 
parted friends to be under those evils, which they are gen- 
erally imagined to be, and to be sensible of them, then such 
a suspicion would give us intolerable pain; and according- 
ly I wished, for my own sake, to pluck up this opinion by 
the roots, and on that account I have been perhaps some- 
what more prolix than was necessary. 

XLVII. A. More prolix than was necessary? Certain- 
ly not, in my opinion. For I was induced, by the former 


part of your speech, to wish to die; but, by the latter, 
sometimes not to be unwilling, and at others to be wholly 
indifferent about it. But the effect of your whole argu- 
ment is, that I am convinced that death ought not to be 
classed among the evils. 

M. Do you, then, expect that I am to give you a regu- 
lar peroration, like the rhetoricians, or shall I forego that 

A. I would not have you give over an art which you 
have set off to such advantage; and you were in the right 
to do so, for, to speak the truth, it also has set you off. 
But what is that peroration? For I should be glad to 
hear it, whatever it is. 

MM, It is customary, in the schools, to produce the opin- 
ions of the immortal Gods on death; nor are these opin- 
ions the fruits of the imagination alone of the lecturers, 
but they have the authority of Herodotus and many oth- 
ers. Cleobis and Biton are the first they. mention, sons of 
the Argive priestess; the story is a well-known one. As it 
was necessary that she should be drawn in a chariot to a 
certain annual sacrifice, which was solemnized at a temple 
some considerable distance from the town, and the cattle 
that were to draw the chariot had not arrived, those two 
young men whom I have just mentioned, pulling off their 
_ garments, and anointing their bodies with oil, harnessed 
themselves to the yoke. And in this manner the priestess 
was conveyed to the temple; and when the chariot had ar- 
rived at the proper place, she is said to have entreated the 
Goddess to bestow on them, as a reward for their piety, 
the greatest gift that a God could confer on man. And 
the young men, after having feasted with their mother, fell 
asleep; and in the morning they were found dead. © Tro- 
phonius and Agamedes are said to have put up the same 
petition, for they, having built a temple to Apollo at Del- 
phi, offered supplications to the God, and desired of him 
some extraordinary reward for their care and labor, par- 
ticularizing nothing, but asking for whatever was best for 
men. Accordingly, Apollo signified to them that he would 
bestow it on them in three days, and on the third day at 
daybreak they were found dead. And so they say that 
this was a formal decision pronounced by that God to 


whom the rest of the deities have assigned the province of 
divining with an accuracy superior to that of all the rest. 

XLVIII. There is also a story told of Silenus, who, 
when taken prisoner by Midas, is said to have made him 
this present for his ransom—namely, that he informed 
him' that never to have been born was by far the great- 
est blessing that could happen to man; and that the next 
best thing was to die very soon; which very opinion Eu- 
ripides makes use of in his Cresphontes, saying, 

When man is born, ’tis fit, with solemn show, 
We speak our sense of his approaching woe ; 
With other gestures and a different eye, 
Proclaim our pleasure when he’s bid to die.? 

There is something like this in Crantor’s Consolation; for 
he says that Terinzeus of Elysia, when he was bitterly la- 
menting the loss of his son, came to a place of divination 
‘to be informed why he was visited with so great affliction, 
and received in his tablet these three verses: 

Thou fool, to murmur at Euthynous’ death! 
The blooming youth to fate resigns his breath: 
The fate, whereon your happiness depends, 

At once the parent and the son befriends.* 

On these and similar authorities they affirm that the ques- 
tion has been determined by the Gods. Nay, more; Al- 
cidamas, an ancient rhetorician of the very highest reputa- 
tion, wrote even in praise of death, which he endeavored 
to establish by an enumeration of the evils of life; and 
his Dissertation has a great deal of eloquence in it; but 

1 This was expressed in the Greek verses, 

"Apxns mev wy pivac mex Povioraw Gpictov, 
pivta 3 Srws wKieta TbAas ’Aida0 mepncat* 

which by some authors are attiibuted to Homer. 

' 8 This is the first fragment of the Cresphontes.—Ed. Var. vii., p. 594. 

"Edet yap ids ctAXNoyov mocovpévous 
Tov pivta Opnveiv, eis 6a” Epxetat Kaka. 
Tov 3 ab Oavévta kai révev Teraupévov 
Xaipovras evpnuotvtas éexréumew dduov 

* The Greek verses are quoted by Plutarch: 
“"Hrov vnmce, HALOco« ppéves avdpmv 
EvOivoos Kettar porpidip Oavatp 
Ovk tv yap Cwew Kadov adt@ ore yovevar. 


he was unacquainted with the more refined arguments of 
the philosophers. By the orators, indeed, to die for our 
country is always considered not only as glorious, but 
even as happy: they go back as far as Erechtheus,’ whose 
very daughters underwent death, for the safety of their 
fellow-citizens: they instance Codrus, who threw himself 
mto the midst of his enemies, dressed like a common man, 
that his royal robes might not betray him, because the 
oracle had declared the Athenians conquerors, if their 
king was slain. Meneceus’ is not overlooked by them, 
who, in compliance with the injunctions of an oracle, 
freely shed his blood for his country. Iphigenia order- 
ed herself to be conveyed to Aulis, to be sacrificed, that 
her blood might be the cause of spilling that of her ene- 

XLIX. From hence they proceed to instances of a fresh- 
er date. Harmodius and Aristogiton are in everybody’s 
mouth; the memory of Leonidas the Lacedemonian and: 
Epaminondas the Theban is as fresh as ever. Those phi- 
losophers were not acquainted with the many instances in 
our country—to give a list of whom would take up too 
much time—who, we see, considered death desirable as 
long as it was accompanied with honor. But, notwith- 
standing this is the correct view of the case, we must use 
much persuasion, speak as if we were endued with some 
higher authority,.in order to bring men to begin to wish 
to die, or cease to be afraid of death. For if that last day 
does not occasion an entire extinction, but a change of 
abode only, what can be more desirable? And if it, on 
the other hand, destroys, and absolutely puts an end to us, 
what can be preferable to the having a deep sleep fall 
on us, in the midst of the fatigues of life, and being thus 
overtaken, to sleep to eternity? And, should this really 

? This refers to the story that when Eumolpus, the son of Neptune, 
whose assistance the Eleusinians had called in against the Athenians, had 
been slain by the Athenians, an oracle demanded the sacrifice of one of 
the daughters of Erechtheus, the King of Athens. And when one was 
drawn by lot, the others voluntarily accompanied her to death. 

2? Meneeceus was son of Creon, and in the war of the Argives against 
Thebes, ‘Teresias declared that the Thebans should conquer if Menceceus 

would sacrifice himself for his country; and accordingly he killed him- 
self outside the gates of ‘Thebes. 


be the case, then Ennius’s language is more consistent 
with wisdom than Solon’s; for our Ennius says, 

Let none bestow upon my passing bier 
One needless sigh or unavailing tear. 

But the wise Solon says, 

Let me not unlamented die, but o’er my bier 
Burst forth the tender sigh, the friendly tear.’ 

But let us, if indeed it should be our fate to know the 
time which is appointed by the Gods for us to die, prepare 
ourselves for it with a cheerful and grateful mind, think- 
ing ourselves like men who are delivered from a jail, and 
released from their fetters, for the purpose of going back 
to our eternal habitation, which may be more emphatically 
called our own; or else to be divested of all sense and 
trouble. If, on the other hand, we should have no notice 
given us of this decree, yet let us cultivate such a disposi- 
tion as to look on that formidable hour of death as happy 
for us, though shocking to our friends;.and let us never 
imagine anything to be an evil which is an appointment 
of the immortal Gods, or of nature, the common parent of 
all. For it is not by hazard or without design that we 
have been born and situated as we have. On the contrary, 
beyond all doubt there is a certain power which consults 
the happiness of human nature; and this would neither 
have produced nor provided for a being which, after hay- 
ing gone through the labors of life, was to fall into eternal 
misery by death. Let us rather infer that we have a re- 
treat and haven prepared for us, which I wish we could 
crowd all sail and arrive at; but though the winds should 
not serve, and we should be driven back, yet we shall to a 
certainty arrive at that point eventually, though somewhat 
later. But how can that be miserable for one which all 
must of necessity undergo? I have given you a perora- 
tion, that you might not think I had overlooked or neglect- 
ed anything. 

A. I am persuaded you have not; and, indeed, that 
peroration has confirmed me. 

1 The Greek is, 

unde proc &kNavotos Oayaros podot, AAXa hirocoe 
momoaue Oavav &yea Kai cTovaxas, 


MM. I am giad it has had that effect. But it is now 
time to consult our health. To-morrow, and all the time 
we continue in this Tusculan villa, let us consider this sub- 
ject; and especially those portions of it which may ease 
our pain, alleviate our fears, and lessen our desires, which 
is the greatest advantage we can reap from the whole of 


I. Neorrotemvs, in Ennius, indeed, says that the study 
of philosophy was expedient for him; but that it re- 
quired limiting to a few subjects, for that to give himself 
up entirely to it was what he did not approve of. And 
for my part, Brutus, I am perfectly persuaded that it is 
expedient for me to philosophize; for what can I do bet- 
ter, especially as I have no regular occupation? But I 
am not for limiting my philosophy to a few subjects, as 
he does; for philosophy is a matter in which it is diffi- 
cult to acquire a little knowledge without acquainting 
yourself with many, or all its branches, nor can you well 
take a few subjects without selecting them out of a great 
number; nor can any one, who has acquired the knowl- 
edge of a few points, avoid endeavoring with the same 
eagerness to understand more. But still, in a busy life, 
and in one mainly occupied with military matters, such as 
that of Neoptolemus was at that time, even that limited 
degree of acquaintance with philosophy may be of great 
use, and may yield fruit, not perhaps so plentiful as a 
thorough knowledge of the whole of philosophy, but yet 
such as in some degree may at times deliver us from the 
dominion of our desires, our sorrows, and our. fears; just 
as the effect of that discussion which we lately maintained 
in my Tusculan villa seemed to be that a great contempt 
of death was engendered, which contempt is of no small 
efficacy towards delivering the mind from fear; for who- 
ever dreads what cannot be avoided can by no means live 
with a quiet and tranquil mind. But he who is under no 


fear of death, not only because it is a thing absolutely in- 
evitable, but also because he is persuaded that death itself 
hath nothing terrible in it, provides himself with a very 
great resource towards a happy life. However, I am not 
ignorant that many will argue strenuously against us; 
and, indeed, that is a thing which can never be avoided, 
except by abstaining from writing at all. For if my 
Orations, which were addressed to the judgment and ap- 
probation of the people (for that is a popular art, and the 
object of oratory is popular applause), have been criti- 
cised by some people who are inclined to withhold their 
praise from everything but what they are persuaded they 
can attain to themselves, and who limit their ideas of 
good speaking by the hopes which they conceive of what 
they themselves may attain to, and who declare, when 
they are overwhelmed with a flow of words and sen- 
tences, that they prefer the utmost poverty of thought 
and expression to that plenty and copiousness (from 
which arose the Attic kind of oratory, which they who pro- 
fessed it were strangers to, though they have now been 
some time silenced, and laughed out of the very courts of 
justice), what may I not expect, when at present I cannot 
have the least countenance from the people by whom I 
used to be upheld before? For philosophy is satisfied 
with a few judges, and of her own accord industriously 
avoids the multitude, who are jealous of it, and utterly 
displeased with it; so that, should any one undertake to 
cry down the whole of it, he would have the people on his 
side; while, if he should attack that school which I par- 
ticularly profess, he would have great assistance from 
those of the other philosophers. 

II. But I have answered the detractors of philosophy 
in general, in my Hortensius. And what I had to say in 
favor of the Academics, is, I think, explained with suffi- 
cient accuracy in my four books of the Academic Ques- 

But yet I am so far from desiring that no one should 
write against me, that it is what I most earnestly wish; 
for philosophy would never have been in such esteem in 
Greece itself, if it had not been for the strength which it 
acquired from the contentions and disputations of the 



most learned men; and therefore I recommend all men 
who have abilities to follow my advice to snatch this art 
also from declining Greece, and to transport it to this 
city; as our ancestors by their study and industry have 
imported all their other arts which were worth having. 
Thus the praise of oratory, raised from a low degree, is 

_arrived at such perfection that it must now decline, and, 

as is the nature of all things, verge to its dissolution in a 
very short time. Let philosophy, then, derive its birth in 
Latin language from this time, and let us lend it our as- 
sistance, and. bear patiently to be contradicted and re- 
futed; and although those men may dislike such treat- 
ment who are bound and devoted to certain predeter- 
mined opinions, and are under such obligations to main- 
tain them that they are forced, for the sake of consist- 
ency, to adhere to them even though they do not them- 
selves wholly approve of them; we, on the other hand, 
who pursue only probabilities, and who cannot go beyond 
that which seems really likely, can confute others with- 
out obstinacy, and are prepared to be confuted ourselves 
without resentment. Besides, if these studies are ever 
brought home to us, we shall not want even Greek libra- 
ries, in which there is an infinite number of books, by 
reason of the multitude of authors among them; for it is 
a’ common practice with many to repeat the same things 
which have been written by others, which serves no pur- 
pose but to stuff their shelves; and this will be our case, 
too, if many apply themselves to this study. 

III. But let us excite those, if possible, who have had 
a liberal education, and are masters of an elegant style, 
and who philosophize with reason and method. 

For there is a certain class of them who would willing- 
ly be called philosophers, whose books in our language 
are said to be numerous, and which I do not despise; for, 
indeed, I never read them: but still, because the authors 
themselves declare that they write without any regularity, 
or method, or elegance, or ornament, I do not care to read 
what must be so void of entertainment. There is no 
one in the least acquainted with literature who does not 
know the style and sentiments of that school; wherefore, 
since they are at no pains to express themselves well, I 


do not see why they should be read by anybody except 
by one another. Let them read them, if they please, who 
are of the same opinions; for in the same manner as all 
men read Plato and the other Socratics, with those who 
sprung from them, even those who do not agree with 
their opinions, or are very indifferent about them; but 
scarcely any one except their own disciples take Epicurus 
or Metrodorus into their hands; so they alone read these 
Latin books who think that the arguments contained in 
them are sound. But, in my opinion, whatever is pub- 
lished should be recommended to the reading of every 
man of learning; and though we may not succeed in this 
ourselves, yet nevertheless we must be sensible that this 
ought to be the aim of every writer. And on this ac- 
count I have always been pleased with the custom of the 
Peripatetics and Academics, of disputing on both sides of 
the question; not’ solely from its being the only method 
of discovering what is probable on every subject, but also 
because it affords the greatest scope for practising elo- 
quence; a method that Aristotle first made use of, and 
_ afterward all the Aristotelians; and in our own memory 
_ Philo, whom we have often heard, appointed one time to 
treat of the precepts of the rhetoricians, and another for 
philosophical discussion, to which custom I was brought 
to conform by my friends at my Tusculum; and accord- 
ingly our leisure time was spent in this manner. And - 
therefore, as yesterday before noon we applied ourselves 
to speaking, and in the afternoon. went down into the 
Academy, the discussions which-were held there I have 
acquainted you with, not in the manner of a narration, but 
in almost the very same words which were employed in 
the debate. 

_ IV. The discourse, then, was introduced in this manner 
_ while we were walking, and it was commenced. by some 
such an opening as this: 

A. It is not to be expressed how much I was delighted, 
or rather edified, by your discourse of yesterday. For 
although I am conscious to myself that I have never been 
too fond of life, yet at times, when I have considered that 
there would be an end to this life, and that I must some © 
time or other part with all its good things, a certain dread 


and uneasiness used to intrude itself on my thoughts; 
but now, believe me, I am so freed from that kind of un- 
easiness that there is nothing that I think less worth any 

M. 1 am not at all surprised at that, for it is the effect 
of philosophy, which is the medicine of our souls; it ban- 
ishes all groundless apprehensions, frees us from desires, 
and drives away fears: but it has not the same influence 

over all men; it is of very great influence when it falls in — 

with a disposition well adapted to it. For not only does 
Fortune, as the old proverb says, assist the bold, but rea- 
son does so in astill greater degree; for it, by certain 
precepts, as it were, strengthens even courage itself. You 
were born naturally great and soaring, and with a con- 
tempt for all things which pertain to man alone; there- 
fore a discourse against death took easy possession of a 
brave soul. But do you imagine that these same argu- 
ments have any force with those very persons who have 
invented, and canvassed, and published them, excepting in- 
deed some very few particular persons? For how few 
philosophers will you meet with whose life and manners 
are conformable to the dictates of reason! who look on 
their profession, not. as a means of displaying their learn- 
ing, but as a rule for their own practice! who follow their 
_ own precepts, and comply with their own decrees! You 

may see some of such levity and such vanity, that it would 
have been better for them to have been ignorant; some 
covetous of money, some others éager for glory, many 
slaves to their lusts; so that their discourses and their 
actions are most strangely at variance; than which noth- 
ing in my opinion can be more unbecoming: for just as 
if one who professed to teach grammar should speak with 
impropriety, or a master of music sing out of tune, such 
conduct has the worst appearance in these men, because 
they blunder in the very particular with which they pro- 
fess that they are well acquainted. So a philosopher who 
errs in the conduct of his life is the more infamous be- 
cause he is erring in the very thing which he pretends to 
teach, and, while he lays down rules to regulate life by, is 
irregular in his own life. 

VY. A. Should this be the case, is it not to be feared that 

a. on 


you are dressing up philosophy in false colors? For what 
stronger argument can there be that it is of little use than 
that some very profound philosophers live in a discredita- 
ble manner? 

M. That, indeed, is no argument at all, for as all the 
fields which are cultivated are not fruitful (and this senti- 
ment of Accius is false, and asserted without any founda- 

The ground you sow on is of small avail; 
To yield a crop good seed can never fail), 

- it is not every mind which has been properly cultivated 
that produces fruit; and, to go on with the comparison, as 
a field, although it may be naturally fruitful, cannot pro- 
duce a crop without dressing, so neither can the mind 
without education ; such is the weakness of either with- 
out the other. Whereas philosophy is the culture of the 
mind: this it is which plucks up vices by the roots; pre- 
pares the mind for the receiving of seeds; commits them 
to it, or, as 1 may say, sows them, in the hope that, when 
come to maturity, they may produce a plentiful harvest. 
Let us proceed, then, as we began. Say, if you please, 
what shall be the subject of our disputation. 

A. I look on pain to be the greatest of all evils. 

M. What, even greater than infamy ? 

A. I dare not indeed assert that; and I blush to think 
IT am so soon driven from my ground. 

M. You would hate had greater reason for blushing 
had you persevered in it; for what is so unbecoming— 
what can appear worse to you, than disgrace, wickedness, 
immorality? ‘To avoid which, what pain is there which 
we ought not (I will not say to avoid shirking, but even) 
of our own accord to encounter, and undergo, and even to 
court ? 

A. I am entirely of that opinion; but, notwithstanding 
that pain is not the greatest evil, yet surely it is an evil. 

M. Do you perceive, then, how much of the terror of 
pain you have given up on a small hint? . 

A. I see that plainly; but I should be glad to give up 
more of it. 

M. 1 will endeavor to make you do so; but it is a great 


undertaking, and I must have a disposition on your part 
which is not inclined to offer any obstacles, 

A. You shall have such: for as I behaved yesterday, so 
now I will follow reason wherever she leads. 

VI. &. First, then, I will speak of the weakness of many 
philosophers, and those, too, of various sects; the head of 
whom, both in authority and antiquity, was Aristippus, 
the pupil of Socrates, who hesitated not to say that pain 
was the greatest of all evils. And after him Epicurus 
easily gave in to this effeminate and enervated doctrine. 
After him Hieronymus the Rhodian said, that to be with- 
out pain was the chief good, so great an evil did pain ap- 
pear to him to be. The rest, with the exceptions of Zeno, 
Aristo, Pyrrho, were pretty much of the same opinion 
that you were of just now—that it was indeed an evil, 
but that there were many worse. When, then, nature her- 
self, and a certain generous feeling of virtue, at once pre- 
vents you from persisting in the assertion that pain is the 
chief evil, and when you were driven from such an opin- 
ion when disgrace was contrasted with pain, shall philoso- 
phy, the preceptress of life, cling to this idea for so many 
anges? What duty of life, what praise, what reputation, 
would be of such consequence that a man should be desir- 
ous of gaining it at the expense of submitting to bodily 
pain, when he has persuaded himself that pain is the 
greatest evil? On the other side, what disgrace, what ig- 
nominy, would he not submit to that he might avoid pain, 
when persuaded that it was the greatest of evils? Be- 
sides, what person, ifit be only true that pain is the great- 
est of evils, is not miserable, not only when he actually 
feels pain, but also whenever he is aware that it may be- 
fall him. And who is there whom pain may not befall ? 
So that it is clear that there is absolutely no one who can 
possibly be happy. Metrodorus, indeed, thinks that man 
perfectly happy whose body is free from all disorders, and 
who has an assurance that it will always continue so; but 
who is there who can be assured of that? 

VII. But Epicurus, indeed, says such things that it 
should seem that his design was only to make people 
laugh; for he affirms somewhere that if a wise man were 
to be burned or put to the torture — you expect, perhaps, 


that he is going to say he would bear it, he would support 
himself under it with resolution, he would not yield to it 
(and that, by Hercules! would be very commendable, and 
worthy of that very Hercules whom I have just invoked) : 
but even this will not satisfy Epicurus, that robust and 
hardy man! No; his wise man, even if he were in Phal- 
aris’s bull, would say, How sweet it is! how little do I 
regard it! What,sweet? Is it not sufficient, if it is not 
disagreeable? But those very men who deny pain to be 
an evil are not in the habit of saying that it is agreeable 
to any one to be tormented; they rather say that it is 
cruel, or hard to bear, afflicting, unnatural, but still not an 
evil: while this man who says that it is the only evil, and 
the very worst of all evils, yet thinks that a wise man 
would pronounce it sweet. I do not require of you to 
speak of pain in the same words which Epicurus uses—a 
man, as you know, devoted to pleasure: he may make no 
difference, if he pleases, between Phalaris’s bull ,and his 
own bed; but I cannot allow the wise man to be so indif- 
ferent about pain. If he bears it with courage, it is suffi- 
cient: that he should rejoice in it, I do not expect; for 
pain is, beyond all question, sharp, bitter, against nature, 
hard to scbmit to and to bear. Observe Philoctetes: We 
may allow him to lament, for he saw Hercules himself 
groaning loudly through extremity of pain on Mount Cita. 
The arrows with which Hercules presented him were then 
no consolation to him, when 

The viper’s bite, impregnating his veins 
With poison, rack’d him with its bitter pains. 

And therefore he cries out, desiring help, and wishing to 

Oh that some friendly hand its aid would lend, 

My body from this rock’s vast height to send 

Into the briny deep! I’m all on fire, 

And by this fatal wound must soon expire. 

It is hard to say that the man who was obliged to cry out 
in this manner was not oppressed with evil, and great evil, 

VIII. But let us observe Hercules himself, who was sub- 
dued by pain at the very time when he was on the point 


of attaining immortality by death. What words does 
Sophocles here put in his mouth, in his Trachiniz ? who, 
when Deianira had put upon him a tunic dyed in the cen- 
taur’s blood, and it stuck to his entrails, says, 

What tortures I endure no words can tell, 
Far greater these, than those which erst befell 
From the dire terror of thy consort, Jove— 
F’en stern Eurystheus’ dire command above ; 
This of thy daughter, Gineus, is the fruit, 
Beguiling me with her envenom’d suit, 
Whose close embrace doth on my entrails prey, 
Consuming life; my lungs forbid to play; 
The blood forsakes my veins ; my manly heart 
Forgets to beat; enervated, each part 
Neglects its office, while my fatal doom 
Proceeds ignobly from the weaver’s loom. 
The hand of foe ne’er hurt me, nor the fierce 
Giant issuing from his parent earth, 
Ne’er could the Centaur such a blow enforce, 
No barbarous foe, nor all the Grecian force ; 
This arm no savage people could withstand, 
Whose realms I traversed to reform the land. 
Thus, though I ever bore a manly heart, 
I fall a victim to a woman’s art. 
IX. Assist, my son, if thou that name dost hear, 
My groans preferring to thy mother’s tear: 
Convey her here, if, in thy pious heart, 
Thy mother shares not an unequal part: 
Proceed, be bold, thy father’s fate bemoan, 
Nations will join, you will not weep alone. 
Oh, what a sight is this same briny source, 
Unknown before, through all my labors’ course! 
That virtue, which could brave each toil but late, 
With woman’s-weakness now. bewails its fate. 
Approach, my son; behold thy father laid, 
A wither’d carcass that implores thy aid ; 
Let all behold: and thou, imperious Jove, 
On me direct thy lightning from above: 
Now all its force the poison doth assume, 
And my burnt entrails with its flame consume. 
Crestfallen, unembraced, I now let fall 
Listless, those hands that lately conquer’d all ; 
When the Nemzan lion own’d their force, 
And he indignant fell a breathless corse ; 
The serpent slew, of the Lernean lake, 
As did the Hydra of its force partake: 
By this, too, fell the Erymanthian boar: 
E’en Cerberus did his weak strength deplore. 


Ausra C8 Soi, 


This sinewy arm did overcome with ease 
That dragon, guardian of the Golden Fleece. 
My many conquests let some others trace ; 
It’s mine to say, I never knew disgrace.’ 

Can we, then, despise pain, when we see Hercules himself 
giving vent to his expressions of agony with such impa- 
tience ? 

X. Let us see what Aischylus says, who was not only 
a poet, but a Pythagorean philosopher also, for that is the 
account which you have received of him; how doth he 
make Prometheus bear the pain he suffered for the Lem- 
nian theft, when he clandestinely stole away the celestial 
fire, and bestowed it on men, and was severely punished 
by Jupiter for the theft. Fastened to Mount Caucasus, 
he speaks thus : 

Thou heav’n-born race of Titans here fast bound, 
Behold thy brother! As the sailors sound 
With care the bottom, and their ships confine 
To some safe shore, with anchor and with line; 
So, by Jove’s dread decree, the God of fire 
Confines me here the victim of Jove’s ire. 
With baneful art his dire machine he shapes ; 
From such a God what mortal e’er escapes ? 
When each third day shall triumph o’er the night, 
Then doth the vulture, with his talons light, 
Seize on my entrails; which, in rav’nous guise, 
He preys on! then with wing extended flies 
Aloft, and brushes with his plumes the gore: 
But when. dire Jove my liver doth restore, 
Back he returns impetuous to his prey, 
Clapping his wings, he cuts th’ ethereal way. 

_ Thus do I nourish with my blood this pest, 
Confined my arms, unable to contest ; 
Entreating only that in pity Jove 
Would take my life, and this cursed plague remove. 
But endless ages past unheard my moan, 
Sooner shall drops dissolve this very stone.? 

And therefore it scarcely seems possible to avoid calling 
a man who is suffering, miserable; and if he is miserable, 
then pain is an evil. 

? Soph. Trach. 1047. 

? The lines quoted by Cicero here appear to have come from the Latin 
play of Prometheus by Accius ; the ideas are borrowed, rather than trans- 
lated, from the Prometheus of Aéschylus. 



XI. A. Hitherto you are on my side; I will see to that 
by-and-by; and, in the mean while, whence are those 
verses? I do not remember them. 

MM. I will inform you, for you are in the right to ask. 
Do you see that I have much leisure ? 

A. What, then ? 

M. I imagine, when you were at Athens, you attended 
frequently at the schools of the philosophers. 

A. Yes, and with great pleasure. 

M. You observed, then, that though none of them at 
that time were very eloquent, yet they used to mix verses 
with their harangues. 

. A. Yes, and particularly Dionysius the Stoic used to 
employ a great many. 

MM, You say right; but they were quoted without any 
appropriateness or elegance. But our friend Philo used 
to give a few select lines and well adapted; and in imita- 
tion of him, ever since I took a fancy to this kind of el- 
derly declamation, I have been very fond of quoting our 
poets; and where I cannot be supplied from them, I trans- 
late from the Greek, that the Latin language may not want 
any kind of ornament in this kind of disputation. 

But do you not see how much harm is done by poets? 
They introduce the bravest men lamenting over their mis- 
fortunes: they soften our minds; and they are, besides, so 
entertaining, that we do not only read them, but get them 
by heart. Thus the influence of the poets is added to our 
want of discipline at home, and our tender and delicate 
manner of living, so that between them they have deprived 
virtue of all its vigor and energy. Plato, therefore, was 
right in banishing them from his commonwealth, where he 
required the best morals, and the best form of govern- 
ment. But we, who have all our learning from Greece, 
read and learn these works of theirs from our childhood ; 
and look on this as a liberal and learned education. 

XII. But why are we angry with the poets? We may 
find some philosophers, those masters. of virtue, who have 
taught that pain was the greatest of evils. But you, young 
man, when you said but just now that it appeared so. to 
you, upon being asked by me what appeared greater than 
infamy, gave up that opinion at a word. Suppose I ask 


Epicurus the same question. He will answer that a tri- 
fling degree of pain is a greater evil than the greatest in- 
famy; for that there is no evil in infamy itself, unless 
attended with pain. What pain, then, attends Epicurus, 
when he says that very thing, that pain is the greatest 
evil! And yet nothing can be a greater disgrace to a phi- 
losopher than to talk thus. Therefore, you allowed enough 
when you admitted that infamy appeared to you to be a 
greater evil than pain. And if you abide by this admis- 
sion, you will see how far pain should be resisted; and 
that our inquiry should be not so much whether pain be 
an evil, as how the mind may be fortified for resisting it. 
The Stoics infer from some petty quibbling arguments 
that it is no evil, as if the dispute were about a word, and 
not about the thing itself. Why do you impose upon me, 
Zeno? For when you deny what appears very dreadful 
to me to be an evil, I am deceived, and am at a loss to 
know why that which appears to me to be a most miser- 
able thing should be no evil. ‘Phe answer is, that nothing 
is an evil but what is base and vicious. You return to 
your trifling, for you do not remove what made me un- 
easy. I know that pain is not vice—you need not inform 
me of that: but show me that it makes no difference to 
me whether I am in pain or not. It has never anything 
to do, say you, with a happy life, for that depends upon 
virtue alone; but yet pain is to be avoided. If I ask, 
why? It is disagreeable, against nature, hard to bear, 
woful and afflicting. 

XIII. Here are many words to express that by so many 
different forms which we call by the single word evil. 
You are defining pain, instead of removing it, when you 
say, it is disagreeable, unnatural, scarcely possible to be 
endured or borne, nor are you wrong in saying so: but 
the man who vaunts himself in such a manner should not 
give way in his conduct, if it be true that nothing is good 
but what is honest, and nothing evil but what is disgrace- 
ful. This would be wishing, not proving. This argu- 
ment is a better one, and has more truth in it—that all 
things which Nature abhors are to be looked upon as | 
evil; that those which she approves of are to be consider- 
ed as good: for when this is admitted, and the dispute 


about words removed, that which they with reason em- 
brace, and which we call honest, right, becoming, and 
sometimes include under the general name of virtue, ap- 
pears so far superior to everything else that all other 
things which are looked upon as the gifts of fortune, or 
the good things of the body, seem trifling and insignifi- 
cant; and no evil whatever, nor all the collective body of 
evils together, appears to be compared to the evil of in- 
famy. Wherefore, if, as you granted in the beginning, 
infamy is worse than pain, pain is certainly nothing; for 
while it appears to you base and unmanly to groan, cry 
out, lament, or faint under pain; while you cherish notions 
of probity, dignity, honor, and, keeping your eye on them, 
refrain yourself, pain will certainly yield: to virtue, and, by 
the influence of imagination, will lose its whole force.— 
For you must either admit that there is no such thing as 
virtue, or you must despise every kind of pain. Will you 
allow of such a virtue as prudence, without which no vir- 
tue whatever can even be conceived? What,then? Will 
that suffer you to labor and take pains to no purpose? 
Will temperance permit you to do anything to excess? 
Will it be possible for justice to be maintained by one 
who through the force of pain discovers secrets, or betrays 
his confederates, or deserts many duties of life? Will 
you act in a manner consistently with courage, and its at- 
tendants, greatness of soul, resolution, patience, and con- 
tempt for all worldly things? Can you hear yourself call- 
ed a great man when you lie grovelling, dejected, and de- 
ploring your condition with a lamentable voice; no one 
would call you even a man while in such a condition. 
You must therefore either abandon all pretensions to cour- 
age, or else pain must be put out of the question. 

XIV. You know very well that, even though part of 
your Corinthian furniture were gone, the remainder might 
be safe without that; but if you lose one virtue (though 
virtue in reality cannot be lost), still if, I say, you should 
acknowledge that you were deficient in one, you would be 
stripped of all. Can you, then, call yourself a brave man, 
of a great soul, endued with patience and steadiness above 
the frowns of fortune? or Philoctetes? for I choose to in- 
stance him, rather than yourself, for he certainly was not 


a brave man, who lay in his bed, which was watered with 
his tears, 
Whose groans, bewailings, and whose bitter cries, 
With grief incessant rent the very skies. 

I do not deny pain to be pain—for were that the case, in 
what would courage consist ?—but I say it should be as- 
suaged by patience, if there be such a thing as patience: 
if there be no such thing, why do we speak so in praise of 
philosophy ? or why do we glory in its name? Does pain 
annoy us? Let it sting us to the heart: if you are with- 
out defensive armor, bare your throat to it; but if you 
are secured by Vulcanian armor, that is to say by resolu- 
tion, resist it. Should you fail to do so, that guardian of 
your honor, your courage, will forsake and leave you.—By 
the laws of Lycurgus, and by those which were given to 
the Cretans by Jupiter, or which Minos established under 
the direction of Jupiter, as the poets say, the youths of 
the State are trained by the practice of hunting, running, 
enduring hunger and thirst, cold and heat. The boys at 
Sparta are scourged so at the altars that blood follows the 
lash in abundance; nay, sometimes, as I used to hear when 
I was there, they are whipped even to death; and yet not 
one of them was ever heard to cry out, or so much as 
groan. What, then? Shall men not be able to bear what 
boys do? and shall custom have such great force, and rea- 
son none at all? 

XV. There is some difference between labor and pain; 
they border upon one another, but still there is a certain 
difference between them. Labor is a certain exercise of 
the mind or body, in some employment or undertaking of 
serious trouble and importance; but pain is a sharp mo- 
tion in the body, disagreeable to our senses.—Both these 
feelings, the Greeks, whose language is more copious than 
ours, express by the common name of IIdvoc: therefore 
they call industrious men painstaking, or, rather, fond of 
labor ; we, more conveniently, call them laborious; for la- | 
boring is one thing, and enduring pain another. You see, 
O Greece! your barrenness of words, sometimes, though 
you think you are always so rich in them. [I say, then, 
that there is a difference between laboring and being in 


pain. When Caius Marius had an operation performed 
for a swelling in his thigh, he felt pain; when he headed 
his troops in a very hot season, he labored. Yet these 
two feelings bear some resemblance to one another; for 
the accustoming ourselves to labor makes the endurance 
of pain more easy to us. And it was because they were 
influenced by this reason that the founders of the Grecian 
form of government provided ‘that the bodies of their 
youth should be strengthened by labor, which custom the 
Spartans transferred even to their women, who in other 
cities lived more delicately, keeping within the walls of 
their houses; but it was otherwise with the Spartans. 

The Spartan women, with a manly air, 

Fatigues and dangers with their husbands share; 
They in fantastic sports have no delight, 
Partners with them in exercise and fight. 

And in these laborious exercises pain interferes sometimes. 
They are thrown down, receive blows, have bad falls, and 
are bruised, and the labor itself produces a sort of callous- 
ness to pain. 

XVI. As to military service (I speak of our own, not, 
of that of the Spartans, for they used to march slowly to 
the sound of the flute, and scarce a word of command was 
given without an anapeest), you may see, in the first place, 
whence the very name of an army (exercitus)' is derived ; 
and, secondly, how great the labor is of an army on its 
march: then consider that they carry more than a fort- 
night’s provision, and whatever else they may want; that 
they carry the burden of the stakes,’ for as to shield, sword, 
or helmet, they look on them as no more encumbrance than 
their own limbs, for they say that arms are the limbs of 
a soldier, and those, indeed, they carry so commodiously 
that, when there is occasion, they throw down their bur- 
dens, and use their arms as readily as their limbs. Why 
need I mention the exercises of the legions? And how 
great the labor is which is undergone in the running, en- 
counters, shouts! Hence it is that their minds are worked 

1 From ezerceo, 

® Each soldier carried a stake, to help form a palisade in front of the 

Oe a See ee 

eae? LAP HeNe Ie 


up to make so light of wounds in action. Take a soldier 
of equal bravery, but undisciplined, and he will seem a 
woman. Why is it that there is this sensible difference 
between a raw recruit and a veteran soldier? The age of 
the young soldiers is for the most part in their favor; but 
it is practice only that enables men to bear labor and de- 
spise wounds. Moreover, we often see, when the wounded 
are carried off the field, the raw, untried soldier, though 
but slightly wounded, cries out most shamefully; but the 
more brave, experienced veteran only inquires for some one 
to dress his wounds, and says, 

Patroclus, to thy aid I must appeal 

Ere worse ensue, my bleeding wounds to heal; 
The sons of Asculapius are employ’d, 

No room for me, so many are annoy’d. 

XVII. This is certainly Eurypylus himself. What an 
experienced man !—While his friend is continually enlarg- 
ing on his misfortunes, you may observe that he is so far 
from weeping that he even assigns a reason why he should 
bear his wounds with patience. 

Who at his enemy a stroke directs, 
His sword to light upon himself expects. 

Patroclus, I suppose, will lead him off to his chamber to 
bind up his wounds, at least if he be a man: but not a 
word of that; he only inquires how the battle went: 

Say how the Argives bear themselves in fight ? 

And yet no words can show the truth as well as those, your 
deeds and visible sufferings. 

Peace! and my wounds bind up; 

but though Eurypylus could bear these afflictions, Aisopus 
could not, 

Where Hector’s fortune press’d our yielding troops ; 

and he explains the rest, though in pain. So unbounded 
is military glory in a brave man! Shall, then, a veteran 
soldier be able to behave in this manner, and shall a wise 
and learned man not be able? Surely the latter might be 


able to bear pain better, and in no small degree either. At 
present, however, I am confining myself to what is engen- 
dered by practice and discipline. I am. not yet come to 
speak of reason and philosophy. You may often hear of old 
women living without victuals for three or four days; but 
take away a wrestler’s provisions but for one day, and he 
will implore the aid of Jupiter Olympius, the very God for 

whom he exercises himself: he will cry out that he cannot , 

endure it. Great is the force of custom! Sportsmen will 
continue whole nights in the snow; they will bear being 
almost frozen upon the mountains. From practice boxers 
will not so much as utter a groan, however bruised by the 
cestus. But what do you think of those to whom a vic- 
tory in the Olympic games seemed almost on a par with 
the ancient consulships of the Roman people? What 
wounds will the gladiators bear, who are either barbarians, 
or the very dregs of mankind! How do they, who are 
trained to it, prefer being wounded to basely avoiding it! 
‘How often do they prove that they consider nothing but 
the giving satisfaction to their masters or to the people! 
for when covered with wounds, they send to their masters 
to learn their pleasure: if it is their will, they are ready to 
lie down and die. What gladiator, of even moderate rep- 
utation, ever gave a sigh? who ever turned pale? who 
ever disgraced himself either in the actual combat, or even 
when about to die? who that had been defeated ever drew 
in his neck to avoid the stroke of death? So great is the 
force of practice, deliberation, and custom! Shall this, 
then, be done by 

A Samnite rascal, worthy of his trade; 

and shall a man born to glory have so soft a part in his 
soul as not to be able to fortify it by reason and reflection ? 
The sight of the gladiators’ combats is by some looked on 
as cruel and inhuman, andI do not know, as it is at present 
managed, but it may be so; but when the guilty fought, 
we might receive by our ears perhaps (but certainly by 
our eyes we could not) better training to harden us against 
pain and death. 

XVIII. I have now said enough about the effects of ex- 
ercise, custom, and careful meditation. Proceed we now 


to consider the force of reason, unless you have something 
to reply to what has been said. 

A. That I should interrupt you! By no means; for 
your discourse has brought me over to your opinion. Let 
the Stoics, then, think it their business to determine wheth- 
er pain be an evil or not, while they endeavor to show by 
some strained and trifling conclusions, which are nothing 
to the purpose, that pain is no evil. My opinion is, that 
whatever it is, it is not so great as it appears; and I say, 
that men are influenced to a great extent by some false 
representations and appearance of it, and that all which is 
really felt is capable of being endured. Where shall I be- 
gin, then? Shall I superficially go over what I said be- 
fore, that my discourse may have a greater scope? 

This, then, is agreed upon by all, and not only by learned 
men, but also by the unlearned, that it becomes the brave 
and magnanimous—those that have patience and a spirit 
above this world—not to give way to pain. Nor has there 
ever been any one who did not commend a man who bore 
it in this manner. That, then, which is expected from a 
brave man, and is commended when it is seen, it must sure- 
ly be base in any one to be afraid of at its approach, or 
not to bear when it comes. But I would have you con- 
sider whether, as all the right affections of the soul are 
classed under the name of virtues, the truth is that this is 
not properly the name of them all, but that they all have 
their name from that leading virtue which is superior to 
all the rest: for the name “ virtue” comes from vir, a man, 
and courage is the peculiar distinction of a man: and this 
virtue has two principal duties, to despise death and pain. 
We must, then, exert these, if we would be men of virtue, 
or, rather, if we would be men, because virtue (virtus) takes 
its very name from vir, man. 

XIX. You may inquire, perhaps, how? And such an 
inquiry is not amiss, for philosophy is ready with her as- 
sistance. Epicurus offers himself to you, a man far from 
a bad—or,I should rather say, a very good man: he ad- 
vises no more than he knows. “ Despise pain,” says he. 
Who is it saith this? Is it the same man who calls pain 
the greatest of all evils? It is not, indeed, very consist- 
ent in him. Let us hear what he says: “If the pain is ex- 



cessive, it must needs be short.” I must have that over 
again, for I do not apprehend what you mean exactly by 
“excessive” or “short.” That is excessive than which 
nothing can be greater; that is short than which noth- 
ing is shorter. I do not regard the greatness of any pain 
from which, by reason of the shortness of its continuance, 
I shall be delivered almost before it reaches me. But if 
the pain be as great as that of Philoctetes, it will appear 
great indeed to me, but yet not the greatest that I am 
capable of bearing; for the pain is confined to my foot. 
But my eye may pain me, I may have a pain in the head, 
or sides, or lungs, or in every part of me. It is far, then, 
from being excessive. Therefore, says he, pain of a long 
continuance has more pleasure in it than uneasiness. 
Now, I cannot bring myself to say so great a man talks 
nonsense; but I imagine he is laughing at us. My opin- 
ion is that the greatest pain (I say the greatest, though it 
may be ten atoms less than another) is not therefore short, 
because acute. I could name to you a great many good 
men who have been tormented many years with the acutest 
‘pains of the gout. But this cautious man doth not deter- 
mine the measure of that greatness or of duration,so as to 
enable us to know what he calls excessive with regard to 
pain, or short with respect to its continuance. Let us pass 
him by, then, as one who says just nothing at all; and let 
us force him to acknowledge, notwithstanding he might 
behave himself somewhat boldly under his colic and his 
strangury, that no remedy against pain can be had from 
him who looks on pain as the greatest of all evils. We 
must apply, then, for relief elsewhere, and nowhere better 
(if we seek for what is most consistent with itself) than 
to those who place the chief good in honesty, and the 
greatest evil in infamy. You dare not so much as groan, 
or discover the least uneasiness in their company, for vir- 
tue itself speaks to you through them. 

XX. Will you, when you may observe children at Lace- 
dxmon, and young men at Olympia, and barbarians in the 
amphitheatre, receive the severest wounds, and bear them ~ 
without once opening their mouths—will you, I say, if any 
pain should by chance attack you, cry out like a woman? 
Will you not rather bear it with resolution and constan- 


ey? and not ery, It is intolerable; nature cannot bear it! 
I hear what you say: Boys bear this because they are 
led thereto by glory; some bear it through shame, many 
through fear, and yet are we afraid that nature cannot 
bear what is borne by many, and in such different cir- 
cumstances? Nature not only bears it, but challenges it, 
for there is nothing with her preferable, nothing which 
she desires more than credit, and reputation, and praise, 
and honor, and glory. I choose here to describe this one 
thing under many names, and I have used many that you 
may have the clearer idea of it; for what I mean to say is, 
that whatever is desirable of itself, proceeding from vir- 
tue, or placed in virtue, and commendable on its own ac- 
count (which I would rather agree to call the only good 
than deny it to be the chief good) is what men should pre- 
fer above all things. And as we declare this to be the 
case with respect to honesty, so we speak in the contra- 
ry manner of infamy; nothing is so odious, so detesta- 
ble, nothing so unworthy of aman. And if you are thor- 
oughly convinced of this (for, at the beginning of this dis- 
course, you allowed that there appeared to you more evil 
in infamy than in pain), it follows that you ought to have 
the command over yourself, though I scarcely know how 
this expression may seem an accurate one, which appears 
to represent man as made up of two natures, so that one 
should be in command and the other be subject to it. 
XXI. Yet this division does not proceed from igno- 
rance; for. the soul admits of a twofold division, one of 
which partakes of reason, the other is without it. When, 
therefore, we are ordered to give a law to ourselves, the 
meaning is, that reason should restrain our rashness. 
There is in the soul of every man something naturally soft, 
low, enervated in a manner, and languid.. Were there 
nothing besides this, men would be the greatest of mon- 
sters ; but there is present to every man reason, which pre- 
sides over and gives laws to all; which, by improving it- 
_ self, and making continual advances, becomes perfect vir- 
tue. It behooves a man, then, to take care that reason 
shall have the command over that part which is bound 
to practise obedience. In what manner? you will say. 
Why, as a master has over his slave, a general over his 


army, a father over his son. If that part of the soul 
which I have called soft behaves disgracefully, if it gives 
itself up to lamentations and womanish tears, then let it 
be restrained, and committed to the care of friends and 
relations, for we often see those persons brought to or- 
der by shame whom no reasons can influence. Therefore, 
we should confine those feelings, like our servants, in safe 
custody, and almost with ghains. But those who have 
more resolution, and yet are not utterly immovable, we 
should encourage with our exhortations, as we would good 
soldiers, to recollect themselves, and maintain their honor. 
That wisest man of all Greece, in the Niptra, does not la- 
ment too much over his wounds, or, rather, he is moderate 
in his grief: 

Move slow, my friends; your hasty speed refrain, 

Lest by your motion you increase my pain. 

Pacuvius is better in this than Sophocles, for in the 
one Ulysses bemoans his wounds too vehemently; for the 
very people who carried him after he was wounded, 
though his grief was moderate, yet, considering the dignity 
of the man, did not scruple to say, 

And thou, Ulysses, long to war inured, 
Thy wounds, though great, too feebly hast endured. 

The wise poet understood that custom was no contempti- 
ble instructor how to bear pain. But the same hero com- 
plains with more decency, though in great pain: 

Assist, support me, never leave me so ; 
Unbind my wounds, oh! execrable woe! 

He begins to give way, but instantly checks himself: 

Away ! begone! but cover first the sore ; 
For your rvde hands but make my pains the more. 

Do you observe how he constrains himself? not that his 
bodily pains were less, but because he checks the anguish 
of his mind. Therefore,in the conclusion of the Niptre, 
he blames others, even when he himself is dying: 

Complaints of fortune may become the man, 
None but a woman will thus weeping stand. 


And so that soft place in his soul obeys his reason, just as 
an abashed soldier does his stern commander. 

XXII. The man, then, in whom absolute wisdom exists 
(such a man, indeed, we have never as yet seen, but the 
philosophers have described in their writings what sort of 
man he will be, if he should exist); such a man, or at least 
that perfect and absolute reason which exists in him, will 
have the same authority over the inferior part as a good 
parent has over his dutiful children: he will bring it to 
obey his nod without any trouble or difficulty. He will 
rouse himself, prepare and arm himself, to oppose pain 
as he would an enemy. If you inquire what arms he will 
provide himself with, they will be contention, encourage- 
ment, discourse with himself. He will say thus to himself: 
Take care that you are guilty of nothing base, languid, or 
unmanly. He will turn over in his mind all the different 
kinds of honor. Zeno of Elea will occur to him, who suf-- 
fered everything rather than betray his confederates in the 
design of putting an end to the tyranny. He will reflect 
on Anaxarchus, the pupil of Democritus, who, having fall- 
en into the hands of Nicocreon, King of Cyprus, without 
the least entreaty for mercy or refusal, submitted to every 
kind of torture. Calanus the Indian will occur to him, an 
ignorant man and a barbarian, born at the foot of Mount 
Caucasus, who committed himself to the flames by his own ~ 
free, voluntary act. But we, if we have the toothache, 
or a pain in the foot, or if the body be anyways affected, 
cannot bear it. For our sentiments of pain as well as 
pleasure are so trifling and effeminate, we are so enervated 
and relaxed by luxuries, that we cannot bear the sting of 
a bee without crying out. But Caius Marius, a plain’ 
countryman, but of a manly soul, when he had an operation 
performed on him, as I mentioned above, at first refused 
to be tied down; and he is the first instance of any one’s 
having had an operation performed on him without be- 
ing tied down. Why, then, did others bear it afterward ? 
Why, from the force of example. You see, then, that pain 
exists more in opinion than in nature; and yet the same 
Marius gave a proof that there is something very sharp in 
pain, for he would not submit to have the other thigh cut. 
So that he bore his pain with resolution as a man; but, 


like a reasonable person, he was not willing to undergo 
any greater pain without some necessary reason, The 
whole, then, consists in this—that you should have com- 
mand over yourself. I have already told you what kind 
of command this is; and by considering what is most con- 
sistent with patience, fortitude, and greatness of soul, a 
man not only restrains himself, but, somehow or other, mit- 
igates even pain itself. 

XXIII. Even as in a battle the dastardly and timorous 
soldier throws away his shield on the first appearance of 
an enemy, and runs as fast as he can, and on that account 
loses his life sometimes, though he has never received even 
one wound, when he who stands his ground has noth- 
ing of the sort happen to him, so they who cannot bear 
the appearance of pain throw themselves away, and give 
themselves up to affliction and dismay. But they that 
oppose it, often come off more than a match for it. For 
the body has a certain resemblance to the soul: as bur- 
dens are more easily borne the more the body is exerted, 
while they crush us if we give way, so the soul by exert- 
ing itself resists the whole weight that would oppress it; 
but if it yields, it is so pressed that it cannot support it- 
self. And if we consider things truly, the soul should ex- 
ert itself in every pursuit, for that is the only security for 
its doing its duty. But this should be principally regard- 
ed in pain, that we must not do anything timidly, or das- 
tardly, or basely, or slavishly, or effeminately, and, above 

all things, we must dismiss and avoid that Philoctetean 

sort of outcry. A man is allowed sometimes to groan, but 
yet seldom; but it is not permissible even in a woman to 
howl; for such a noise as this is forbidden, by the twelve 
tables, to be used even at funerals. Nor does a wise or 
brave man ever groan, unless when he exerts himself to 
give his resolution greater force, as they who run in the 
stadium make as much noise as they can. The wrestlers, 
too, do the same when they are training; and the boxers, 
when they aim a blow with the cestus at their adversary, 
give a groan, not because they are in pain, or from a sink- 
ing of their spirits, but because their whole body is put 
upon the stretch by the throwing-out of these groans, and 
the blow comes the stronger, 

«alice sid i il lelia 

fy S 


XXIV. What! they who would speak louder than ordi- 
nary, are they satisfied with working their jaws, sides, or 
tongue, or stretching the common organs of speech and 
utterance? The whole body and every muscle is at full 
stretch, if I may be allowed the expression; every nerve is 
exerted to assist their voice. I have actually seen the knees 
of Marcus Antonius touch the ground when he was speak- 
ing with vehemence for himself, with relation to the Va- 
rian law. For,as the engines you throw stones or darts 
with throw them out with the greater force the more they 
are strained and drawn back; so it is in speaking, run- 
ning, or boxing —the more people strain themselves, the 
greater their force. Since, therefore, this exertion has so 
much influence —if in a moment of pain groans help to 
strengthen the mind, let us use them; but if they be 
groans of lamentation, if they be the expression of weak- 
ness or abjectness, or unmanly weeping, then I should 
scarcely call him a man who yielded to them. For even 
supposing that such groaning could give any ease, it still 
should be considered whether it were consistent with a 
brave and resolute man. But if it does not ease our pain, 
why should we debase ourselves to no purpose? For 
what is more unbecoming in a man than to cry like a 
woman? But this precept which is laid down with re- 
spect to pain is not confined to it. We should apply this 
exertion of the soul to everything else. Is anger in- 
flamed? is lust excited? we must have recourse to the 
same citadel, and apply to the same arms. But since it is 
pain which we are at present discussing, we will let the 
other subjects alone. To bear pain, then, sedately and 
calmly, it is of great use to consider with all our soul, as 
the saying is, how noble it is to do so, for we are naturally 
desirous (as I said before, but it cannot’ be too often re- 
peated) and very much inclined to what is honorable, of 
which, if we discover but the least glimpse, there is noth- 
ing which we are not prepared to undergo and suffer to 
attain it. From this impulse of our minds, this desire for 
genuine glory and honorable conduct, it is that such dan- 
gers are supported in war, and that brave men are not 
sensible of their wounds in action, or, if they are sensible 
of them, prefer death to the departing but the least step 


from their honor. The Decii saw the shining swords of 
their enemies when they were rushing into the battle. 
But the honorable character and the glory of the death 
which they were seeking made all fear of death of lit- 
tle weight. Do you imagine that Epaminondas groaned 
when he perceived that his life was flowing out with his 
blood? No; for he left his country triumphing over the 
Lacedzemonians, whereas he had found it in subjection to 
them. These are the comforts, these are the things that 
assuage the greatest pain. 

XXYV. You may ask, How the case is in peace? What 
is to be done at home? . How we are to behave in bed ? 
You bring me back to the philosophers, who seldom go 
to war. Among these, Dionysius of Heraclea, a man cer- 
tainly of no resolution, having learned fortitude of Zeno, 
quitted it on being in pain; for, being tormented with a 
pain in his kidneys, in bewailing himself he cried out that 
those things were false which he had formerly conceived 
of pain. And when his fellow-disciple, Cleanthes, asked 
him why he had changed his opinion, he answered, “ That 
the case of any man who had applied so much time to 
philosophy, and yet was unable to bear pain, might be a 
. sufficient proof that pain is an evil; that he himself had 
spent many years at philosophy, and yet could not bear 
pain: it followed, therefore, that pain was an evil.” It is 
reported that Cleanthes on that struck his foot on the 
ground, and repeated a verse out of the Epigone: 

Amphiaraus, hear’st thou this below ? 

He meant Zeno: he was sorry the other had degenerated 
from him. 

But it was not so with our friend Posidonius, whom I 
have often seen myself; and I will tell you what Pompey 
used to say of him: that when he came to Rhodes, after 
his departure from Syria, he had a great desire to hear 
Posidonius, but was informed that he was very ill of a se- 
vere fit of the gout; yet he had great inclination to pay a 
visit to so famous a philosopher. Accordingly, when he 
had seen him, and paid his compliments, and had spoken 
with great respect of him, he said he was very sorry that 
he could not hear him lecture. “ But indeed you may,” 


replied the other, “nor will I suffer any bodily pain to oc- 
casion so great a man to visit me in vain.” On this Pom- 
pey relates that, as he lay on his bed, he disputed with 
great dignity and fluency on this very subject: that noth- 
ing was good but what was honest; and that in his par- 
oxysms he would often say, “ Pain, it is to no purpose; 
notwithstanding you are troublesome, I will never ac- 
knowledge you an evil.” And in general all celebrated 
and notorious afflictions become endurable by disregard- 
ing them. 

XX VI. Do we not observe that where those exercises 
called gymnastic are in esteem, those who enter the lists 
never concern themselves about dangers? that where the 
praise of riding and hunting is highly esteemed, they who 
practice these arts decline no pain? What shall I say of 
our own ambitious pursuits or desire of honors? What 
fire have not candidates run through to gain a single 
vote? Therefore Africanus had always in his hands 
Xenophon, the pupil of Socrates, being particularly pleased 
with his saying, that the same labors were not equally 
heavy to the general and to the common man, because the 
honor itself made the labor lighter to the general. But 
yet, so it happens, that even with the illiterate vulgar an 
idea of honor is of great influence, though they cannot un- 
derstand what it is. They are led by report and common 
opinion to look on that as honorable which has the general 
voice. Not that-I would have you, should the multitude 
be ever so fond of you, rely on their judgment, nor ap- 
prove of everything which they think right: you must 
use your own judgment. If you are satisfied with your- 
self when you have approved of what is right, you will 
not only have the mastery over yourself (which I recom- 
- mended to you just now), but over everybody, and every- 
thing. Lay this down, then, as a rule, that a great ca- 
pacity, and lofty elevation of soul, which distinguishes it- 
self most by despising and looking down with contempt 
on pain, is the most excellent of all things, and the more 
so if it does not depend on the people and does not aim at 
applause, but derives its satisfaction from itself. Besides, 
to me, indeed, everything seems the more commendable 
the less the people are courted, and the fewer eyes there 



-are to see it. Not that you should avoid the public, for 
every generous action loves the public view; yet no the- 
atre for virtue is equal to a consciousness of it. 

XXVII. And let this be principally considered: that 
this bearing of pain, which I have often said is to be 
strengthened by an exertion of the soul, should be the 
same in everything. For you meet with many who, 
through a desire of victory, or for glory, or to maintain 
their rights, or their liberty, have boldly received wounds, 
and borne themselves up under them; and yet those very 
same persons, by relaxing that intenseness of their minds, 
were unequal to bearing the pain of a disease; for they 
did not support themselves under their former sufferings 
by reason or philosophy, but by inclination and glory. 
Therefore some barbarians and savage people are able to 
fight very stoutly with the sword; but cannot bear sick- 
ness like men; but the Grecians, men of no great courage, 
but as wise as human nature will admit of, cannot look an 
enemy in the face, yet the same will bear to be visited 
with sickness tolerably, and with a sufficiently manly spir- 
it; and the Cimbrians and Celtiberians are very alert in 
battle, but bemoan themselves in sickness. For nothing 
can be consistent which has not reason for its foundation. 
But when you see those who are led by inclination or 
opinion, not retarded by pain in their pursuits, nor hin- 
dered by it from succeeding in them, you may conclude, 
either that pain is no evil, or that, notwithstanding you 
may choose to call an evil whatever is disagreeable and 
contrary to nature, is so very trifling an evil that it 
may so effectually be got the better of by virtue as quite . 
to disappear. And I would have you think of this night 
and day; for this argument will spread itself, and take up 
more room some time or other, and not be confined to 
pain alone; for if the motives to all our actions are to 
avoid disgrace and acquire honor, we may not only despise 
the stings of pain, but the storms of fortune, especially if 
we have recourse to that retreat which was pointed out in 
our yesterday’s discussion; for, as if some God had ad- 
vised a man who was pursued by pirates to throw himself 
overboard, saying, “ There is something at hand to receive 
you; either a dolphin will take you up, as it did Arion of 

“is an 


Methymna; or those horses sent by Neptune to Pelops 
(who are said to have carried chariots so rapidly as to be 
borne up by the waves) will receive you, and convey you 
wherever you please. Cast away all fear.” So, though 
your pains be ever so sharp and disagreeable, if the case 
is not such that it is worth your while to endure them, 
you see whither you may betake yourself. I think this 
will do for the present. But perhaps you still abide by 
your opinion. 

A, Not in the least, indeed; and I hope I am freed by 
these two days’ discourses from the fear of two things 
that I greatly dreaded. 

M. To-morrow, then, for rhetoric, as we were saying. 
But I see we must not drop our philosophy. 

A. No, indeed; we will have the one in the forenoon, 
and this at the usual time. 

M. It shall be so, and I will comply with your very 
laudable inclinations. 


I. Wuar reason shall I assign, O Brutus, why, as we 
consist of mind and body, the art of curing and preserv- 
ing the body should be so much sought after, and the in- 
vention of it, as being so useful, should be ascribed to the 
immortal Gods; but the medicine of the mind should not 
have been so much the object of inquiry while it was un- 
known, nor so much attended to and cultivated after its 
discovery, nor so well received or approved of by some, 
and accounted actually disagreeable, and looked upon with 
an envious eye by many? Is it because we, by means of 
the mind, judge of the pains and disorders of the body, 
but do not, by means of the body, arrive at any perception 
of the disorders of the mind? Hence it comes that the 

- mind only judges of itself when that very faculty by which 

it is judged is in a bad state. Had nature given us facul- 
ties for discerning and viewing herself, and could we go 
through life by keeping our eye on her—our best guide— 


there would be no reason certainly why any one should be 
in want of philosophy or learning; but, as it is, she has 
furnished us only with some feeble rays of light, which 
we immediately extinguish so completely by evil habits 
and erroneous opinions that the light of nature is nowhere 
visible. The seeds of virtues are natural to our constitu- 
tions, and, were they suffered to come to maturity, would 
naturally conduct us to a happy life; but now, as soon as 
we are born and received into the world, we are instantly 
familiarized with all kinds of depravity and perversity of 
opinions; so that we may be said almost to suck in error 
with our nurse’s milk. When we return to our parents, 
and are put into the hands of tutors and governors, we 
are imbued with so many errors that truth gives place to 
falsehood, and nature herself to established opinion. 

II. To these we may add the poets; who, on account of 
the appearance they exhibit of learning and wisdom, are 
heard, read, and got by heart, and make a deep impres- 
sion on our minds. But when to these are added the peo- 
ple, who are, as it were, one great body of instructors, and 
the multitude, who declare unanimously for what is wrong, 
then are we altogether overwhelmed with bad opinions, 
and revolt entirely from nature; so that they seem to de- 
prive us of our best guide who have decided that there is 
nothing better for man, nothing more worthy of being de- 
sired by him, nothing more excellent, than honors and 
commands, and a high reputation with the people; which 
indeed every excellent man aims at; but while he pursues 
that only true honor which nature has in view above all 
other objects, he finds himself busied in arrant trifles, and 
in pursuit of no conspicuous form of virtue, but only some 
shadowy representation of glory. For glory is a real and 
express substance, not a mere shadow. It consists in the 
united praise of good men, the free voice of those who 
form a true judgment of pre-eminent virtue; it is, as it 
were, the very echo of virtue; and being generally the 
‘attendant on laudable actions, should not be slighted by 

good men. But popular fame, which would pretend to . 

imitate it, is hasty and inconsiderate, and generally com- 
mends wicked and immoral actions, and throws discredit 
upon the appearance and beauty of honesty by assuming 

ee a ae 

eS ee he ee eee ee ee 



a resemblance of it. And it is owing to their not being 
able to discover -the difference between them that some 
men, ignorant of real excellence, and in what it consists, 
have been the destruction of their country and of them- 
selves. And thus the best men have erred, not so much 
in their intentions as by a mistaken conduct. What? is 
no cure to be attempted to be applied to those who are 
carried away by the love of money, or the lust of pleasures, 
by which they are rendered little short of madmen, which 
is the case of all weak people? or is it because the disor- 
ders of the mind are less dangerous than those of the 
body? or because the body will admit of a cure, while 
there is no medicine whatever for the mind? 

III. But there are more disorders of the mind than of 
the body, and they are of a more dangerous nature; for 
these very disorders are the more offensive because they 
belong to the mind and disturb it; and the mind, when 
disordered, is, as Ennius says, in a constant error: it can 
neither bear nor endure anything, and is under the per- 
petual influence of desires. Now, what disorders can be 
worse to the body than these two distempers of the mind 
(for I overlook others), weakness and desire? But how, 
indeed, can it be maintained that the mind cannot pre- 
scribe for itself, when she it is who has invented the med- 
icines for the body, when, with regard to bodily cures, 
constitution and nature have a great share, nor do all who 
suffer themselves to be cured find that effect instantly ; 
but those minds’which are disposed to be cured, and sub- 
mit to the precepts of the wise, may undoubtedly recover 
a healthy state? Philosophy is certainly the medicine of 
the soul, whose assistance we do not seek from abroad, as 
in bodily disorders, but we ourselves are bound to exert 
our utmost energy and power in order to effect our cure. 
But as to philosophy in general, I have, I think, in my 
Hortensius, sufficiently spoken of the credit and attention 
which it deserves: since that, indeed, I have been contin- 
ually either disputing or writing on its most material 
branches; and I have laid down in these books all the dis- 
cussions which took place between myself and my particu- 
lar friends at my Tusculan villa. But as I have spoken 
in the two former of pain and death, this book shall be 



devoted to the account of the third day of our disputa- 
tions. ; 

We came down into the Academy when the day was 
already declining towards afternoon, and I asked one of 
those who were present to propose a subject for us to dis- 
course on; and then the business was carried on in this 

0 A. My opinion is, that a wise man is subject to 

M. What, and to the other perturbations of mind, as 
fears, lusts, anger? For these are pretty much like what 
the Greeks call 746y. I might call them diseases, and 
that would be a literal translation, but it is not agreeable 
to our way of speaking. For envy, delight, and pleasure 
are all called by the Greeks diseases, being affections of 
the mind not in subordination to reason; but we, I think, 
are right in calling the same motions of a disturbed soul 
perturbations, and in very seldom using the term diseases; 
though, perhaps, it appears otherwise to you. 

A, I am of your opinion. 

M. And do you think a wise man subject to these? 

A. Entirely, I think. 

M. Then that boasted wisdom is but of small account, 
if it differs so little from madness ? 

A. What? does every commotion of the mind seem to 
you to be madness ? 

M. Not to me only; but I apprehend, though I have 
often been surprised at it, that it appeared so to our an- 
cestors many ages before Socrates; from whom is derived 
all that philosophy which relates to life and morals. 

A. How so? 

M. Because the name madness’ implies a sickness of 
the mind and disease; that is to say, an unsoundness and 
an unhealthiness of mind, which they call madness. But 
the philosophers call all perturbations of the soul diseases, 
and their opinion is that no fool is ever free from these ; 
but all that are diseased are unsound; and the minds of 
all fools are diseased; therefore all fools are mad. For 
they held that soundness of the mind depends on a cer- 

? Tnsania—from in, a particle of negative force in composition, and 

sanus, healthy, sound. 

= oe. 



tain tranquillity and steadiness; and a mind which was 
destitute of these qualities they called insane, because 
soundness was inconsistent with a perturbed mind just 
as much as with a disordered body. 

V. Nor were they less ingenious in calling the state of 
the soul devoid of the light of the mind, “a being out of 
one’s mind,” “a being beside one’s self.” From whence 
we may understand that they who gave these names to 
things were of the same opinion with Socrates, that all 
silly people were unsound, which the Stoics have care- 
fully preserved as being derived from him; for whatever 
mind is distempered (and, as I just now said, the philoso- 
phers call all perturbed motions of the mind distempers) 
is no more sound than a body is when in a fit of sick- 
ness. Hence it is that wisdom is the soundness of the 
mind, folly a sort of unsoundness, which is insanity, or a 
being out of one’s mind: and these are much better ex- 
pressed by the Latin words than the Greek, which you 
will find the case also in many other topics. But we 
will discuss that point elsewhere: let us now attend to 
our present subject. The very meaning of the word de- 
scribes the whole thing about which we are inquiring, 
both as to its substance and character. For we must 
necessarily understand by “sound” those whose minds 
are under no perturbation from any motion as if it were 
a disease. They who are differently affected we must 
necessarily call “unsound.” So that nothing is better 
than what is usual in Latin, to say that they who are run 
away with by their lust or anger have quitted the com- 
mand over themselves; though anger includes lust, for 
anger is defined to be the lust of revenge. They, then, 
who are said not to be masters of themselves, are said 
to be so because they are not under the government of 
reason, to which is assigned by nature the power over 
the whole soul. Why the Greeks should call this pavia, 
I do not easily apprehend; but we define it much bet- 
ter than they, for we distinguish this madness (insania), 
which, being allied to folly, is more extensive, from what 
we call furor, or raving. The Greeks, indeed, would “do 
so too, but they have no one word that will express it: 
what we call furor, they call pedayxoXia, as if the reason 


were affected only by a black bile, and not disturbed as 
often by a violent rage, or fear, or grief. Thus we say 
Athamas, Alemzon, Ajax, and Orestes were raving (fu- 
rere); because a person affected in this manner was not 
allowed by the Twelve Tables to have the management 
of his own affairs; therefore the words are not, if he is 
mad (insanus), but if he begins to be raving (furiosus). 
For they looked upon madness to be an unsettled humor 
that proceeded from not being of sound mind; yet such 
a person might perform his ordinary duties, and dis- 
charge the usual and customary requirements of life: but 
they considered one that was raving as afflicted with a 
total blindness of the mind, which, notwithstanding it is 
allowed to be greater than madness, is nevertheless of 
such a nature that a wise man may be subject to raving 
(furor), but cannot possibly be afflicted by insanity (in- 
sania). But this is another question: let us now return 
to our original subject. 

VI. I think you said that it was your opinion that a 
wise man was liable to grief. 

‘A. And so, indeed, I think. ) 

M. It is natural enough to think so, for we are not the 
offspring of flints; but we have by nature something soft 
and tender in our souls, which may be put into a violent 
motion by grief,as by a storm; nor did that Crantor, who 
was one of the most distinguished men that our Academy 
has ever produced, say this amiss: “I am by no means of 
their opinion who talk so much in praise of I know not 
what insensibility, which neither can exist, nor ought to 
exist. “I would choose,” says he, “never to be ill; but 
should I be so, still I should choose to retain my sensa- 
tion, whether there was to be an amputation or any other 
separation of anything from my body. For that insensi- 
bility cannot be but at the expense of some unnatural fe- 
rocity of mind, or stupor of body.” But let us consider 
whether to talk in this manner be not allowing that we 
are weak, and yielding to our softness. Notwithstanding, 
let us be hardy enough, not only to lop off every arm of 
our miseries, but even to pluck up every fibre of their 
roots. Yet still something, perhaps, may be left behind, 
so deep does folly strike its roots: but whatever may be 


left, it will be no more than is necessary. But let us be 
persuaded of this, that unless the mind be in a sound state, 
which philosophy alone can effect, there can be no end of 
our miseries. Wherefore, as we began, let us submit our- 
selves to it for a cure; we shall be cured if we choose to 
be. I shall advance something further. I shall not treat 
of grief alone, though that indeed is the principal thing; 
but, as I originally proposed, of every perturbation of the 
mind, as I termed it; disorder, as the Greeks call it: and 
first, with your leave, I shall treat it in the manner of the 
Stoics, whose method is to reduce their arguments into a 
very small space; afterward I shall enlarge more in my 
own way. 

VII. A man of courage is also full of faith. I do not 
use the word confident, because, owing to an erroneous 
custom of speaking, that word has come to be used in a 
bad sense, though it is derived from confiding, which is 
commendable. But he who is full of faith is certainly un- 
der no fear; for there is an inconsistency between faith 
and fear. Now, whoever is subject to grief is subject to 
fear; for whatever things we grieve at when present we 
dread when hanging over us and approaching. Thus it 
comes about that grief is inconsistent with courage: it is 
very probable, therefore, that whoever is subject to grief 
is also liable to fear, and to a broken kind of spirits and 
sinking. Now, whenever these befall a man, he is in a 
servile state, and must own that he is overpowered; for 
whoever admits these feelings, must admit timidity and 
cowardice. But these cannot enter into the mind of a 
man of courage; neither, therefore, can grief: but the man 
of courage is the only wise man; therefore grief cannot 
befall the wise man. It is, besides, necessary that whoever 
is brave should be a man of great soul; that whoever is a 
man of a great soul should be invincible; whoever is in- 
vincible looks down with contempt on all things here, and 
considers them beneath him. But no one can despise 
those things on account of which he may be affected with 

rief; from whence it follows that a wise man is never af- 

ected with grief: for all wise men are brave; therefore a 

wise man is not subject to grief. And as the eye, when 

disordered, is not in a good condition for performing its 


office properly; and as the other parts, and the whole 
body itself, when unsettled, cannot perform their office 
and business; so the mind, when disordered, is but ill- 
fitted to perform its duty. The office of the mind is to 
use its reason well; but the mind of a wise man is always 
in condition to make the best use of his reason, and there- 
fore is never out of order. But grief is a disorder of the 
mind; therefore a wise man will be always free from it. 

VIII. And from these considerations we may get at a 
very probable definition of the temperate man, whom the 
Greeks call co¢pwy: and they call that virtue cwppocvyny, 
which I at one time call temperance, at another time mod- 
eration, and sometimes even modesty; but I do not know 
whether that virtue may not be properly called frugality, 
which has a more confined meaning with the Greeks; 
for they call frugal men ypysipove, which implies only that 
they are useful; but our name has a more extensive mean- 
ing: for all abstinence, all innocency (which the Greeks 
have no ordinary name for, though they might use the 
word aGrAaBea, for innocency is that disposition of mind 
which would offend no one) and several other virtues are 
comprehended under frugality; but if this quality were 
of less importance, and confined in as small a compass as 
some, imagine, the surname of Piso’ would not have been 
in so great esteem. But as we allow him not the name 
of a frugal man (/frugi), who either quits his post through 
fear, which is cowardice; or who reserves to his own use 
what was privately committed to his keeping, which is in- 
justice; or who fails in his military undertakings through 
rashness, which is folly—for that reason the word frugali- 
ty takes in these three virtues of fortitude, justice, and 
prudence, though it is indeed common to all virtues, for 
they are all connected and knit together. Let us allow, 
then, frugality itself to be another and fourth virtue; for 
its peculiar property seems to be, to govern and appease 
all tendencies to too eager a desire after anything, to re- 
strain lust, and to preserve a decent steadiness in every- 
thing. The vice in contrast to this is called prodigality 
(nequitia). Frugality, I imagine, is derived from the 

+ The man who first received this surname was L. Calpurnius Piso, 
who was consul, 133 B.c., in the Servile War. 


word fruge, the best thing which the earth produces; ne- 
quitia is derived (though this is perhaps rather more 
strained; still, let us try it; we shall only be thought to 
have been trifling if there is ‘nothing i in what we say) from 
the fact of everything being to no purpose (neqguicguam) 
in such a man; from which circumstance he is called also 
Nihil, nothing. Whoever is frugal, then, or, if it is more 
agreeable to you, whoever is moderate and temperate, such 
a one must of course be consistent ; whoever is consistent, 
must be quiet; the quiet man must be free from all per- 
turbation, therefore from grief likewise: and these are the 
properties of a wise man; therefore a wise man must be 
free from grief. 

IX. So that Dionysius of Heraclea is right when, upon 
this complaint of Achilles in Homer, 

Well hast thou spoke, but at the tyrant’s name 
My rage rekindles, and my soul’s in flame: 
"Tis just resentment, and becomes the brave, 
Disgraced, dishonor'd like the vilest slave’— 

he reasons thus: Is the hand as it should be, when it is 
affected with a swelling? or is it possible for any other 
member of the body, when swollen or enlarged, to be in any 
other than a disordered state? Must not the mind, then, 
when it is puffed up, or distended, be out of order? But 
the mind of a wise man is always free from every kind of 
disorder: it never swells, never is puffed up; but the mind 
when in anger is in a different state. A wise man, there- 
fore, is never angry; for when he is angry, he lusts after 
something; for whoever is angry naturally has.a longing 
desire to ; give all the pain he can to the person who he 
thinks has injured him; and whoever has this earnest 
desire must necessarily be much pleased with the accom- 
plishment of his wishes; hence he is delighted with his 
neighbor’s misery; and as a wise man is not capable of 
such feelings as these, he is therefore not capable of anger. 
But should a wise man be subject to grief, he may like- 

1 The Greek is, 

"AAA pot olddverat Kpadin xdrp & émmor’ éxeivov 
Mvyjcopac bs wp? dovpnrov év ’Apyetocow épefev,—I. ix, 642, 

I have given Pope’s translation in the text. 


wise be subject to anger; for as he is free from anger, he 
must likewise be free from grief. Again, could a wise 
man be subject to grief, he might also be liable to pity, or 
even might be open to a disposition towards envy (énviden- 
tia); 1 do not say to envy (invidia), for that can only ex- 
ist by the very act of envying: but we may fairly form the 
word invidentia from invidendo, and so avoid the doubt- 
ful name invidia; for this word is probably derived from 
in and video, looking too closely into another’s fortune ; 
as it is said in the Melanippus, 

Who envies me the flower of my children ? 

where the Latin is invidit florem. It may appear not. 

good Latin, but it is very well put by Accius; for as video 
governs an accusative case, so it is more correct to say in- 
video florem than flori. We are debarred from saying so 
by common usage. The poet stood in his own right, and 
expressed himself with more freedom. 

X. Therefore compassion and envy are consistent in the 
same man; for whoever is uneasy at any one’s adversity 
is also uneasy at another’s prosperity: as Theophrastus, 
while he laments the death of his companion Callisthenes, 
is at the same time disturbed at the success of Alexander; 
and therefore he says that Callisthenes met with a man of 
the greatest power and good fortune, but one who did not 
know how to make use of his good fortune. And as pity 
is an uneasiness which arises from the misfortunes of an- 
other, so envy is an uneasiness that proceeds from the good 
success of another: therefore whoever is capable of pity is 
capable of envy. But a wise man is incapable of envy, 
and consequently incapable of pity. But were a wise man 
used to grieve, to pity also would be familiar to him ; there- 
fore to grieve is a feeling which cannot affect a wise man. 
Now, though these reasonings of the Stoics, and their con- 
clusions, are rather strained and distorted, and ought to be 
expressed in a less stringent and narrow manner, yet great 
stress is to be laid on the opinions of those men who have 
a peculiarly bold and manly turn of thought and sentiment. 
For our friends the Peripatetics, notwithstanding all their 
erudition, gravity, and fluency of language, do not satisfy 
me about the moderation of these disorders and diseases 


of the soul which they insist upon; for every evil, though 
moderate, is in its nature great. But our object is to 
make out that the wise man is free from all evil; for as 
the body is unsound if it is ever so slightly affected, so the 
mind under any moderate disorder loses its soundness; 
therefore the Romans have, with their usual accuracy of 
expression, called trouble, and anguish, and vexation, on 
account of the analogy between a troubled mind and a 
diseased body, disorders. The Greeks call all perturbation 
of mind by pretty nearly the same name; for they name 
every turbid motion of the soul ra@oc, that is to say, a dis- 
temper. But we have given them a more proper name; 
for a disorder of the mind is very like a disease of the 
body. But lust does not resemble sickness; neither does 
immoderate joy, which is an elated and exulting pleas- 
ure of the mind. Fear, too, is not very like a distemper, 
though it is akin to grief of mind, but properly, as is also 
the case with sickness of the body, so too sickness of mind 
has no name separated from pain. And therefore I must 
explain the origin of this pain, that is to say, the cause that 
occasions this grief in the mind, as if it were a sickness of 
the body. For as physicians think they have found out 
the cure when they have discovered the cause of the dis- 
temper, so we shall discover the method of curing melan- 
choly when the cause of it is found out. 

XI. The whole cause, then, is in opinion; and this ob- 
servation applies not to this grief alone, but to every other 
disorder of the mind, which are of four sorts, but consist- 
ing of many parts. For as every disorder or perturbation 
is a motion of the mind, either devoid of reason, or in de- 
spite of reason, or in disobedience to reason, and as that 
motion is excited by an opinion of either good or evil;~ 
these four perturbations are divided equally into two 
parts: for two of them proceed from an opinion of good, 
one of which is an exulting pleasure, that is to say, a joy 
elated beyond measure, arising from an opinion of some 
present great good; the other is a desire which may fairly 
be called even a lust, and is an immoderate inclination af- 
ter some conceived great good without any obedience to 
reason. Therefore these two kinds, the exulting pleasure 
and the lust, have their rise from an opinion of good, as 


the other two, fear and grief, have from an opinion of evil. 
For fear is an opinion of some great evil impending over 
us, and grief is an opinion of some great evil present; and, 
indeed, it is a freshly conceived opinion of an evil so great 
that to grieve at it seems right: it is of that kind that he 
who is uneasy at it thinks he has good reason to be so. 
Now we should exert our utmost efforts to oppose these 
perturbations—which are, as it were, so many furies let 
loose upon us and urged on by folly—if we are desirous 
to pass this share of life that is allotted to us with ease 
and satisfaction. But of the other feelings I shall speak 
elsewhere: our business at present is to drive away grief 
if we can, for that shall be the object of our present dis- 
cussion, since you have said that it was your opinion that 
a wise man might be subject to grief, which I can by no 
means allow of; for it is a frightful, miserable, and detest- 
able thing, which we should fly from with our utmost ef- 
forts—with all our sails and oars, as I may say. 

XII. That descendant of Tantalus, how does he appear 
to you—he who sprung from Pelops, who formerly stole 
Hippodamia from her father-in-law, King GEnomaus, and 
married her by force?—he who was descended from Ju- 
piter himself, how broken-hearted and dispirited does he 
not seem ! 

Stand off, my friends, nor come within my shade, 
That no pollutions your sound hearts pervade, 
So foul a stain my body doth partake. 

Will you condemn yourself, Thyestes, and deprive yourself 
of life, on account of the greatness of another’s crime? 
What do you think of that son of Pheebus? Do you not 
look upon him as unworthy of his own father’s light ? 

Hollow his eyes, his body worn away, 

His furrow’d cheeks his frequent tears betray ; 

His beard neglected, and his hoary hairs 

Rough and uncomb’d, bespeak his bitter cares, 

O foolish AXetes! these are evils which you yourself have 
been the cause of, and are not occasioned by any accidents 
with which chance has visited you; and you behaved as 
you did, even after you had been inured to your distress, 
and after the first swelling of the mind had subsided !— 
whereas grief consists (as I shall show) in the notion of 



some recent evil—but your grief, it is very plain, proceeded 
from the loss of your kingdom, not of your daughter, for 
you hated her, and perhaps with reason, but you could not 
calmly bear to part with your kingdom. But surely it 
is an impudent grief which preys upon a man for not be- 
ing able to command those that are free. Dionysius, it is _ 
true, the tyrant of Syracuse, when driven from his country, 
taught a school at Corinth; so incapable was he of living 
without some authority. But what could be more impu- 
dent than Tarquin, who made war upon those who could 
not bear his tyranny; and, when he could not recover his 
kingdom by the aid of the forces of the Veientians and 
the Latins, is said to have betaken himself to Cuma, and 
to have died in that city of old age and grief! 

XIII. Do you, then, think that it can befall a wise man 
to be oppressed with grief, that is to say, with misery? 
for, as all perturbation is misery, grief is the rack itself. 
Lust is attended with heat, exulting joy with levity, fear 
with meanness, but grief with something greater than 
these; it consumes, torments, afflicts, and disgraces a man; 
it tears him, preys upon his mind, and utterly destroys 
him: if we do not so divest ourselves of it as to throw it 
completely off, we cannot be free from misery. And it is 
clear that there must be grief where anything has the ap- 
pearance of a present sore and oppressing evil. Epicurus 
is of opinion that grief arises naturally from the imagina- 
tion of any evil; so that whosoever is eye-witness of any 
great misfortune, if he conceives that the like may pos- 
sibly befall himself, becomes sad instantly from such an 
idea. The Cyrenaics think that grief is not engendered 
by every kind of evil, but only by unexpected, unforeseen 
evil; and that circumstance is, indeed, of no small effect 
on the heightening of grief; for whatsoever comes of a 
sudden appears more formidable. Hence these lines are 
deservedly commended : 

I knew my son, when first he drew his breath, 
Destined by fate to an untimely death ; 

And when I sent him to defend the Greeks, 
War was his business, not your sportive freaks. 

XIV. Therefore, this raminating beforehand upon fut- 
ure evils which you see at a distance makes their approach 


more tolerable; and on this account what Euripides makes 
‘Theseus say is much commended. You will give me leave 
to translate them, as is usual with me: 

I treasured up what some learn’d sage did tell, 
And on my future misery did dwell ; 

I thought of bitter death, of being drove 

Far from my home by exile, and I strove 

With every evil to possess my mind, 

That, when they came, I the less care might find.” 

But Euripides says that of himself, which Theseus said he 
had heard from some learned man, for the poet had been 
a pupil of Anaxagoras, who, as they relate, on hearing of 
the death of his son, said, “I knew that my son was mor- 
tal;” which speech seems to intimate that such things 
afflict those men who have not thought on them before. 
Therefore, there is no doubt but that all those things which 
are considered evils are the heavier from not being fore- 
seen. Though, notwithstanding this is not the only cir- 
cumstance which occasions the greatest grief, still, as the 
mind, by foreseeing and preparing for it, has great power 
to make all grief the less,a man should at all times consid- 
er all the events that may befall him in this life; and cer- 
tainly the excellence and divine nature of wisdom consists 
in taking a near view of, and gaining a thorough acquaint- 
ance with, all human affairs, in not being surprised when 
anything happens, and in thinking, before the event, that 
there is nothing but what may come to pass. 
Wherefore ev’ry man, 

When his affairs go on most swimmingly, 

E’en then it most behooves to arm himself 

Against the coming storm: loss, danger, exile, 

Returning ever, let him look to meet; 

His son in fault, wife dead, or daughter sick : 

All common accidents, and may have happen’d 

That nothing shall seem new or strange. _ But if 

Aught has fall’n out beyond his hopes, all that 

Let him account clear gain.? 

2 This is from the Theseus: 

Ey 6é rovTo mapa copou Tivos paboy 
eis dpovridas vouv ouppopas 7 éBaddAounv 
gpuyas 7° éuavTp mpootibeis matpas éuins. 
Yavarous co cwpous, Kai kak@v GAXas ddovs 
tos, ef Te maoxoun’ ov &ddEalov mote 
Mn wo véoptov mpoomecdoy wGAXov ddakot. 

2 Ter. Phorm. IT. i. 11. 


XV. Therefore, as Terence has so well expressed what 
he borrowed from philosophy, shall not we, from whose 
fountains he drew it, say the same thing in a better man- 
ner, and abide by it with more steadiness? Hence came 
that steady countenance, which, according to Xantippe, 
her husband Socrates always had; so that she said that 
she never observed any difference in his looks when he 
went out and when he came home. Yet the look of that 
old Roman, M. Crassus, who, as Lucilius says, never smiled 
but once in his lifetime, was not of this kind, but placid 
and serene, for so we are told. He, indeed, might well 
have had the same look at all times who never changed 
his. mind, from which the countenance derives its expres- 
sion. So that I am ready to borrow of the Cyrenaics 
those arms against the accidents and events of life by 
means of which, by long premeditation, they break the 
force of all approaching evils; and at the same time I 
think that those very evils themselves arise more from 
opinion than nature, for if they were real, no forecast could 
make them lighter. But I shall speak more particularly 
on these matters after I have first considered Epicurus’s 
opinion, who thinks that all people must necessarily be 
uneasy who believe themselves to be in any evils, let them 
be either foreseen and expected, or habitual to them; for 
with him evils are not the less by reason of their contin- 
uance, nor the lighter for having been foreseen; and it 
is folly to ruminate on evils to come, or such as, perhaps, 
never may come: every evil is disagreeable enough when 
it does come; but he who is constantly considering that 
some evil may befall him is loading himself with a perpet- 
ual evil; and even should such evil never light on him, he 
voluntarily takes upon himself unnecessary misery, so that 
he is under constant uneasiness, whether he actually suf- 
fers any evil, or only thinks of it. But he makes the alle- 
viation of grief depend on two things—a ceasing to think 
on evil, and a turning to the contemplation of pleasure. 
For he thinks that the mind may possibly be under the 
power of reason, and follow her directions: he forbids us, 
therefore, to mind trouble, and calls us off from sorrowful 
reflections ; he throws a mist over our eyes to hinder us 
from the contemplation of misery. Having sounded a re- 



treat from this statement, he drives our thoughts on again, 
and encourages them to view and engage the whole mind 
in the various pleasures with which he thinks the life of 
a wise man abounds, either from reflecting on the past, 
or from the hope of what is to come. I have said these 
things in my own way; the Epicureans have theirs. How- 
ever, let us examine what they say; how they say it is of 
little consequence. 

XVI. In the first place, they are wrong in forbidding 
men to premeditate on futurity and blaming their wish to 
do so; for there is nothing that breaks the edge of grief 
and lightens it more than considering, during one’s whole 
life, that there is nothing which it is impossible should 
happen, or than, considering what human nature is, on 
what conditions life was given, and how we may comply 
with them. The effect of which is that we are always 
grieving, but that we never do so; for whoever reflects on 
the nature of things, the various turns of life, and the weak- 
ness of human nature, grieves, indeed, at that reflection; 
but while so grieving he is, above all other times, behaving 
as a wise man, for he gains these two things by it: one, 
that while he is considering the state of human nature he 
is performing the especial duties of philosophy, and is pro- 
vided with a triple medicine against adversity—in the first 
place, because he has long reflected that such things might 
befall him, and this reflection by itself contributes much 
towards lessening and weakening all misfortunes; and, sec- 
ondly, because he is persuaded that we should bear all the 
accidents which can happen to man with the feelings and 
spirit of a man; and, lastly, because he considers that what 
is blamable is the only evil. But it is not your fault that 
something has happened to you which it was impossible 
for man to avoid. For that withdrawing of our thoughts 
which he recommends when he calls us off from contem- 
plating our misfortunes is an imaginary action; for it is 
not in our power to dissemble or to forget those evils which 
lie heavy on us;. they tear, vex, and sting us —they burn 
us up, and leave no breathing-time. And do you order us 
to forget them (for such forgetfulness is contrary to nat- 
ure), and at the same time deprive us of the only assist- 
ance which nature affords, the being accustomed to them ? 


For that, though it is but a slow medicine (I mean that 
which is brought by lapse of time), is still a very effectual 
one. You order me to employ my thoughts on something 
good, and forget my misfortunes. You would say some- 
thing ‘worthy a great philosopher if you thought those 
things good which are best suited to the dignity of human 
nature, is 

XVII. Should Pythagoras, Socrates, or Plato say to me, 
Why are you dejected or sad? Why do you faint, and 
yield to fortune, which, perhaps, may have power to harass 
and disturb you, but should not quite unman you? There 
is great power in the virtues; rouse them, if they chance 
to droop. Take fortitude for your guide, which will give 
you such spirits that you will despise everything that can 
befall man, and look on it as a trifle. Add to this temper- 
ance, which is moderation, and which was just now called 
frugality, which will not suffer you to do anything base or 
bad—for what is worse or baser than an effeminate man ? 
Not even justice will suffer you to act in this manner, 
though she seems to have the least. weight in this affair ; 
but still, notwithstanding, even she will inform you that 
you are doubly unjust when you both require what does 
not belong to you, inasmuch as though you who have been 
born mortal demand to be placed in the condition of the 
immortals, and at the same time you take it much to heart 
that you are to restore what was lent you. What answer 
will you make to prudence, who informs you that she is 
a virtue sufficient of herself both to teach you a good life 
and also to secure you a happy one? And, indeed, if she 
were fettered by external circumstances, and dependent on 
others, and if she did not originate in herself and return to 
herself, and also embrace everything in herself, so as to 
seek no adventitious aid from any quarter, I cannot imag- 
ine why she should appear deserving of such.lofty pane- 
gyrics, or of being sought after with such excessive eager- 
ness. Now, Epicurus, if you call me back to such goods 
as these, I will obey you, and follow you, and use you as 
my guide, and even forget, as you order me, all my mis- 
fortunes; and I will do this the more readily from a per- 
suasion that they are not to be ranked among evils at all. 
But you are for bringing my thoughts over to pleasure. 


What pleasures? Pleasures of the body, I imagine, or 
such as are recollected or imagined on account of the 
body. Is this all? Do I explain your opinion rightly? 
for your disciples are used to deny that we understand at 
all what Epicurus means. This is what he says, and what 
that subtle fellow, old Zeno, who is one of the sharpest of 
them, used, when I was attending lectures at Athens, to 
enforce and talk so loudly of; saying that he alone was 
happy who could enjoy present pleasure, and who was at 
the same time persuaded that he should enjoy it without 
pain, either during the whole or the greatest part of his 
life; or if, should any pain interfere, if it was very sharp, 
then it must be short; should it be of longer continuance, 
it would have more of what was sweet than bitter in it; 
that whosoever reflected on these things would be happy, 
especially if satisfied with the good things which he had 
already enjoyed, and if he were without fear of death or 
of the Gods. 

XVIII. You have here a.representation of a happy life 
according to Epicurus, in the words of Zeno, so that there 
is no room for contradiction in any point. What, then? 
Can the proposing and thinking of such a life make Thy- 
_estes’s grief the less, or Aletes’s, of whom I spoke above, 
or Telamon’s, who was driven from his country to penury 
and banishment? in wonder at whom men exclaimed thus: 

Is this the man surpassing glory raised ? 

Is this that Telamon so highly praised 

By wondering Greece, at whose sight, like the sun, 
All others with diminish’d lustre shone? 

Now, should any one, as the same author says, find his 
spirits sink with the loss of his fortune, he must apply to 
those grave philosophers of antiquity for relief, and not to 
these voluptuaries: for what great abundance of good do 
they promise? Suppose that we allow that to be without 
pain is the chief good? Yet that is not called pleasure. 
But it is not necessary at present to go through the whole:. 
the question is, to what point are we to advance in order 
to abate our grief? Grant that to be in pain is the great- 
est evil: whosoever, then, has proceeded so far as not to 
be in pain, is he, therefore, in immediate possession of the 
greatest good? Why, Epicurus,do we use any evasions, 


and not allow in our own words the same feeling to be 
pleasure which you are used to boast of with such assur- 
ance? Are these your words or not? This is what you 
say in that book which contains all the doctrine of your 
school; for I will perform on this occasion the office of 
a translator, lest any one should imagine that I am invent- 
ing anything. Thus you speak: “Nor can I form any 
notion of the chief good, abstracted from those pleasures 
which are perceived by taste, or from what depends on 
hearing music, or abstracted from ideas raised by exter- 
nal objects visible to the eye, or by agreeable motions, or 
from those other pleasures which are perceived by the 
whole man by means of any of his senses; nor can it pos- 
sibly be said that the pleasures of the mind are excited 
only by what is good, for I have perceived men’s minds 
to be pleased with the hopes of enjoying those things 
which I mentioned above, and with the idea that it should 
enjoy them without any interruption from pain.” And 
these are his exact words, so that any one may understand 
what were the pleasures with which Epicurus was ac- 
quainted. Then he speaks thus, a little lower down: “I 
have often inquired of those who have been called wise men 
what would be the remaining good if they should exclude 
from consideration all these pleasures, unless they meant 
to give us nothing but words. I could never learn any- 
thing from them; and unless they choose that all virtue 
and wisdom should vanish and come to nothing, they must 
say with me that the only road to happiness lies through 
those pleasures which I mentioned above.” What fol- 
lows is much the same, and his whole book on the chief 
good everywhere abounds with the same opinions. Will 
you, then, invite Telamon to this kind of life to ease his 
grief? And should you observe any one of your friends 
under affliction, would you rather prescribe him a stur- 
geon than a treatise of Socrates? or advise him to listen 
to the music of a water-organ rather than to Plato? or 
lay before him the beauty and variety of some garden, 
put a nosegay to his nose, burn perfumes before him, and 
bid him crown himself with a garland of roses and wood- 
bines? Should you add one thing more, you would cer- 
tainly wipe out all his grief. 


XIX. Epicurus must admit these arguments, or he must 
take out of his book what I just now said was a literal 
translation; or, rather, he must destroy his whole book, 
for it is crammed full of pleasures. We must inquire, 
then, how we can ease him of his grief who speaks in this 

My present state proceeds from fortune’s stings ; 

By birth I boast of a descent from kings ;° 

Hence may you see from what a noble height 

I’m sunk by fortune to this abject plight. 
What! to ease his grief, must we mix him a cup of sweet 
wine, or something of that kind? Lo! the same poet pre- 
sents us with another sentiment somewhere else: 

I, Hector, once so great, now claim your aid. 

We should assist her, for she looks out for help: 

Where shall I now apply, where seek support ? 
Where hence betake me, or to whom resort ? 
No means remain of comfort or of joy, 

In flames my palace, and in ruins Troy ; 

Each wall, 'so late superb, deformed nods, 

And not an altar’s left t? appease the Gods. 

You know what should follow, and particularly this: 

Of father, country, and of friends bereft, 

Not one of all these sumptuous temples left, 

Which, while the fortune of our house did stand, 

With rich-wrought ceilings spoke the artist’s hand. 
O excellent poet! though despised by those who sing the 
verses of Euphorion. He is sensible that all things which 
come on a sudden are harder to be borne. Therefore, 
when he had set off the riches of Priam to the best ad- 
vantage, which had the appearance of a long continuance, 
what does he add ? 

Lo! these all perish’d in one blazing pile; 
The foe old Priam of his life beguiled, 
And with his blood, thy altar, Jove, defiled. 

Admirable poetry! There is something mournful in the 
subject, as well as in the words and measure. We must 
drive away this grief of hers: how is that to be done? 
Shall we lay her on a bed of down; introduce a singer; 

oe i 



shall we burn cedar, or present her with some pleasant 
liquor, and provide her something to eat? Are these the 
good things which remove the most afilicting grief? For 
you but just now said you knew of no other good. I 
should agree with Epicurus that we ought to be called off 
from grief to contemplate good things, if we could only 
agree upon what was good. 

XX. It may be said, What! do you imagine Epicurus 
really meant this, and that he maintained anything so sen- 
sual? Indeed I do not imagine so, for I am sensible that 
he has uttered many excellent things and sentiments, and 
delivered maxims of great weight. Therefore, as I said 
before, I am speaking of his acuteness, not of his morals. 
Though he should hold those pleasures i in contempt which 
he just now commended, yet I must remember wherein 
he places the chief good. For he was not contented with 
barely saying this, but he has explained what he meant: 
he says that taste, and embraces, and sports, and music, 
and those forms which affect the eyes with pleasure, are 
the chief good. Have I invented this? have I misrepre- 
sented him? I should be glad to be confuted; for what 
am I endeavoring at but to clear up truth in every ques- 
tion? Well, but the same man says that pleasure is at 
its height where pain ceases, and that to be free from all 
pain is the very greatest pleasure. Here are three very 
great mistakes in a very few words. One is, that he con- 
tradicts himself; for, but just now, he could not imagine 
' anything good unless the senses were in a manner tickled 
with some pleasure; but now he says that to be free from 
pain is the highest pleasure. Can any one contradict him- 
self more? The next mistake is, that where there is natu- 
rally a threefold division—the first, to be pleased; next, to 
be in pain; the last, to be affected neither by pleasure nor 
pain—he imagines the first and the last to be the same, 
and makes no difference between pleasure and a cessation 
of pain. The last mistake he falls into in common with 
some others, which is this: that as virtue is the most de- 
sirable thing, and as neem at has been investigated with 
a view to the attainment of it, he has separated the chief 
good from virtue. But he commends vir tue, and that fre- 
quently ; and indeed C. Gracchus, when he had made the 


largest distributions of the public money, and had ex- 
hausted the treasury, nevertheless spoke much of defend- 
ing the treasury. What signifies what men say when we 
see what they do? That Piso, who was surnamed Frugal, 
had always harangued against the law that was proposed 
for distributing the corn; but when it had passed, though 
aman of consular dignity, he came to receive the corn. 
Gracchus observed Piso standing in the court, and asked 
him, in the hearing of the people, how it was consistent 
for him to take corn by a law he had himself opposed. 
“Tt was,” said he, “against your distributing my goods 
to every man as you thought proper; but, as you do so, I 
claim my share.” Did not this grave and wise man suffi- 
ciently show that the public revenue was dissipated by the 
Sempronian law? Read Gracchus’s speeches, and you 
will pronounce him the advocate of the treasury. Enpicu- 
rus denies that any one can live pleasantly who does not 
lead a life of virtue; he denies that fortune has any power 
over a wise man; he prefers a spare diet to great plenty, 
and maintains that a wise man is always happy. All these 
things become a philosopher to say, but they are not con- 
sistent with pleasure. But the reply is, that he doth not 
mean that pleasure: let him mean any pleasure, it must be 
such a one as makes no part of virtue. But suppose we 
are mistaken as to his pleasure; are we so, too, as to his 
pain? I maintain, therefore, the impropriety of language 
which that man uses, when talking of virtue, who would 
measure every great evil by pain. 

XXI. And indeed the Epicureans, those best of men— 
for there is no order of men more innocent—complain 
that I take great pains to inveigh against Epicurus. We 
are rivals, 1 suppose, for some honor or distinction. I 
place the chief good in the mind, he in the body; I in vir- 
tue, he in pieasure; and the Epicureans are up in arms, 
and implore the assistance of their neighbors, and many 
are ready to fly to their aid. But as for my part, I de- 
clare that I am very indifferent about the matter, and that 
I consider the whole discussion which they are so anxious 
about at an end. For what! is the contention about the 
Punic war? on which very subject, though M. Cato and 
L. Lentulus were of different opinions, still there was no 


difference between them. But these men behave with too 
much heat, especially as the opinions which they would 
uphold are no very spirited ones, and such as they dare 
not plead for either in the senate or before the assembly 
of the people, or before the army or the censors. But, 
however, I will argue with them another time, and with 
such a disposition that no quarrel shall arise between us; 
for I shall be ready to yield to their opinions when found- 
ed on truth. Only I must give them this advice: That 
were it ever so true, that a wise man regards nothing but 
the body, or, to express myself with more decency, nev- 
er does anything except what is expedient, and views all 
things with exclusive reference to his own advantage, as 
such things are not very commendable, they should confine 
them to their own breasts, and leave off talking with that 
parade of them. 

XXII. What remains is the opinion of the Cyrenaics, 
who think that men grieve when anything happens unex- 
pectedly. And that is indeed, as I said before, a great 
aggravation of a misfortune; and I know that it appeared 
so to Chrysippus—“ Whatever falls out unexpected is so 
much the heavier.” But the whole question does not turn 
on this; though the sudden approach of an enemy some- 
times occasions more confusion than it would if you had 
expected him, and a sudden storm at sea throws the sail- 
ors into a greater fright than one which they have fore- 
seen; and it is the same in many other cases. But when 
you carefully consider the nature of what was expected, 
you will find nothing more than that all things which 
come on a sudden appear greater; and this upon two ac- 
counts: first of all, because you have not time to consider 
how great the accident is; and, secondly, because you are 
probably persuaded that you could have guarded against 
it had you foreseen it, and therefore the misfortune, hav- 
ing been seemingly encountered by your own fault; makes 
your grief the greater. That it is so, time evinces; which, 
as it advances, brings with it so much mitigation that 
though the same misfortunes continue, the grief not only 
becomes the less, but in some cases is entirely removed. 
Many Carthaginians were slaves 4t Rome, and many Mace- 
donians, when Perseus their king was taken prisoner. Isaw, 


too, when I was a young man, some Corinthians in the Pelo- 
ponnesus. They might all have lamented with Andromache, 

All these I saw...... 

but they had perhaps given over lamenting themselves, 
for by their countenances, and speech, and other gestures 
you might have taken them for Argives or Sicyonians. 
And I myself was more concerned at the ruined walls 
of Corinth than the Corinthians themselves were, whose 
minds by frequent reflection and time had become callous 
to such sights. I have read a book of Clitomachus, which 
he sent to his fellow-citizens who were prisoners, to com- 
fort them after the destruction of Carthage. There is init 
a treatise written by Carneades, which, as Clitomachus says, 
he had inserted into his book; the subject was, “ That it ap- 
peared probable that a wise man would grieve at the state 
of subjection of his country,” and all the arguments which 
Carneades used against this proposition are set down in 
the book. There the philosopher applies such a strong 
medicine to a fresh grief as would be quite unnecessary 
in one of any continuance; nor, if this very book had been 
sent to the captives some years after, would it have found 
any wounds to cure, but only scars; for grief, by a gen- 
tle progress and slow degrees, wears away imperceptibly. 
Not that the circumstances which gave rise to it are alter- 
ed, or can be, but that custom teaches what reason should 
—that those things which before seemed to be of some con- 
sequence are of no such great importance after all. 
XXIII. It may be said, What occasion is there to apply 
to reason, or to any sort of consolation such as we gen- 
erally make use of, to mitigate the grief of the afflicted ? 
For we have this argument always at hand, that nothing 
ought to appear unexpected. But how will any one be 
enabled to bear his misfortunes the better by knowing 
that it is unavoidable that such things should happen 
to man? Saying this subtracts nothing from the sum of 
the grief: it only asserts that nothing has fallen out but 
what might have been anticipated ; and yet this manner 
of speaking has some little consolation in it, though I ap- 
prehend not a great deal. Therefore those unlooked-for 
things have not so much force as to give rise to all our 



grief; the blow perhaps may fall the heavier, but whatever 
happens does not appear the greater on that account. No, 
it is the fact of its having happened lately, and not of its 
having befallen us unexpectedly, that makes it seem the 
greater. There are two ways, then, of discerning the 
truth, not only of things that seem evil, but of those that 
have the appearance of good. For we either inquire into 
the nature of the thing, of what description, and magni- 
tude, and importance it is—as sometimes with regard to 
poverty, the burden of which we may lighten when by our 
disputations we show how few things nature requires, and 
of what a trifling kind they are—or, without any subtle ar- 
guing, we refer them to examples, as here we instance a Soc- 
rates, there a Diogenes, and then again that line in Cecilius, 

Wisdom is oft conceal’d in mean attire. 

For as poverty is of equal weight with all, what reason 
can be given why what was borne by Fabricius should be 
spoken of by any one else as unsupportable when it falls 
upon themselves? Of a piece with this is that other way 
of comforting, which consists in pointing out that nothing 
has happened but what is common to human nature; for 
this argument doth not only inform us what human nature 
is, but implies that all things are tolerable which others 
have borne and are bearing. 

XXIV. Is poverty the subject? They tell you of many 
who have submitted to it with patience. Is it the con- 
tempt of honors? They acquaint you with some who 
never enjoyed any, and were the happier for it; and of 
those who have preferred a private retired life to public 
employment, mentioning their names with respect; they 
tell you of the verse’ of that most powerful king who 
praises an old man, and pronounces him happy because he 
was unknown to fame and seemed likely to arrive at the 
hour of death in obscurity and without notice. Thus, 
too, they have examples for those who are deprived of 
their children: they who are under any great grief are 
comforted by instances of like affliction; and thus the en- 

? This refers to the speech of Agamemnon in Euripides, in the Iphi- 
genia in Aulis, : 
Znr@ ce, yépov, 
CndX@ 2 avdpGv Os akivduvov 
Biov tFenépao’, ayvws, axrers.—v. 15. 


durance of every misfortune is rendered more easy by the 
fact of others having undergone the same, and the fate of 
others causes what has happened to appear less important 
than it has been previously thought, and reflection thus 
discovers to us how much opinion had imposed on us, 
And this is what the Telamon declares, “I, when my son 
was born,” etc.; and thus Theseus, “I on my future mis- 
ery did dwell;” and Anaxagoras, “I knew my son was 
mortal.” All these men, by frequently reflecting on hu- 
man affairs, had discovered that they were by no means to 
be estimated by the opinion of the multitude; and, indeed, 
it seems to me to be pretty much the same case with those 
who consider beforehand as with those who derive their 
remedies from time, excepting that a kind of reason cures 
the one, and the other remedy is provided by nature; by 
which we discover (and this contains the whole marrow 
of the matter) that what was imagined to be the greatest 
evil is by no means so great as to defeat the happiness of 
life. And the effect of this is, that the blow is greater by 
reason of its not haying been foreseen, and not, as they 
suppose, that when similar misfortunes befall two different 
people, that man only is affected with grief whom this 
calamity has befallen unexpectedly. So that some persons, 
under the oppression of grief, are said to have borne it 
actually worse for hearing of this common condition of 
man, that we are born under such conditions as render it 
impossible for a man to be exempt from all evil. 

XXY. For this reason Carneades, as I see our friend 
Antiochus writes, used to blame Chrysippus for commend- 
ing these verses of Euripides: 

Man, doom’d to care, to pain, disease, and strife, 
Walks his short journey thro’ the vale of life: 
Watchful attends the cradle and the grave, 
And passing, generations longs to save: 
Last, dies himself: yet wherefore should we mourn? 
For man must to his kindred dust return ; 
Submit to the destroying hand of fate, 
As ripen’d ears the harvest-sickle wait.? 
' This is a fragment from the Hypsipyle: 

Eu pév obdeis Sets ob mover Bpotmy* 

Oante: te tTéxva XaTEp’ al KTaTat ved, 

aités te Ovyoxer. Kai tad’ &xOovtac Bpotot 

eis viv pépovtes ynv" avayKaiws 3° Exe 
Biov Oepifew wore Kapmipov oricxuv. 


He would not allow a speech of this kind to avail at all to 
the cure of our grief, for he said it was a lamentable case 
itself that we were fallen into the hands of such a cruel 
fate; and that a speech like that, preaching up comfort 
from the misfortunes of another, was a comfort adapted 
only to those of a malevolent disposition. But to me it 
appears far otherwise; for the necessity of bearing what 
is the common condition of humanity forbids your resist- 
ing the will of the Gods, and reminds you that you area 
man, which reflection greatly alleviates grief; and the enu- 
meration of these examples is not produced with a view to 
please those of a malevolent disposition, but in order that 
any one in affliction may be induced to bear what he ob- 
serves many others have previously borne with tranquillity 
and moderation. For they who are falling to pieces, and 
cannot hold together through the greatness of their grief, 
should be sapported by all kinds of assistance. From 
whence Chrysippus thinks that grief is called din, as it 
were Avo, that is to say, a dissolution of the whole man 
—the whole of which 1 think may be pulled up by the 
roots by explaining, as I said at the beginning, the cause 
of grief; for it is nothing else but an opinion and judg- 
ment formed of a present acute evil. And thus any bodi- 
ly pain, let it be ever so grievous, may be endurable where 
any hopes are proposed of scme considerable good; and 
we receive such consolation from a virtuous and illustrious 
life that they who lead such lives are seldom attacked by 
grief, or but slightly affected by it. 

XXVI. But as besides this opinion of great evil there is 
this other added also—that we ought to lament-what has 
happened, that it is right so to do, and part of our duty, 
then is brought about that terrible disorder of mind, grief. 
And it is to this opinion that we owe all those various and 
horrid kinds of lamentation, that neglect of our persons, 
that womanish tearing of our cheeks, that striking on our 
thighs, breasts, and heads. Thus Agamemnon, in Homer 
and in Accius, 

Tears in his grief his uncomb’d locks ;? 
from whence comes that pleasant saying of Bion, that the 
Spo TlodAde é« Kedadig mpoOedvpvoug EAxero yairac.—Il. x. 15. 


foolish king in his sorrow tore away the hairs of his 
head, imagining that his grief would be alleviated by bald- 
ness. But men do all these things from being persuaded 
that they ought to do so. And thus A’schines inveighs 
against Demosthenes for sacrificing within seven days af- 
ter the death of his daughter. But with what eloquence, 
with what fluency, does he attack him!. what sentiments 
does he collect! what words does he hurl against him! 
You may see by this that an orator may do anything; but 
nobody would approve of such license if it were not that 
we have an idea innate in our minds that every good man 
ought to lament the loss of a relation as bitterly as possi- 
ble. And it is owing to this that some men, when in sor- 
row, betake themselves to deserts, as Homer says of Bel- 
Distracted in his mind, 

Forsook by heaven, forsaking human kind, 

Wide o’er the Aleian field he chose to stray, 

A long, forlorn, uncomfortable way !? 

And thus Niobe is feigned to have been turned into stone, 
from her never speaking, I suppose, in her grief. But 
they imagine Hecuba to have been converted into a bitch, 
from her rage and bitterness of mind. There are others 
who love to converse with solitude itself when in grief, as 
the nurse in Ennius, 

Fain would I to the heavens and earth relate 
Medea’s ceaseless woes and cruel fate.? 

XXVII. Now all these things are done in grief, from a 
persuasion of their truth and propriety and necessity; and 
it is plain that those who behave thus do so from a con- 
viction of its being their duty; for should these mourners 
by chance drop their grief, and either act or speak for a 
moment in a more calm or cheerful manner, they presently 
check themselves and return to their lamentations again, 
and blame themselves for having been guilty of any inter- 

2"Hrot 6 wammédtoy 7d ‘AXntiov oloc ddaro 
dy Ovpdv Karedwy, rarov avOpwrwy adeivwy.—lIl, vi. 201. 

2 This is a translation from Euripides : 

“Qo0 ‘imepos pw imnrOe yy te olay 
AéEar porovon devpo Mndeias réxas.—Med. 57. 


_ missions from their grief; and parents and masters gen- 
erally correct children not by words only, but by blows, 
if they show any levity by either word or deed when the 
family is under affliction, and, as it were, oblige them to 
be sorrowful. What! does it not appear, when you haye 
ceased to mourn, and have discovered that your grief has 
been ineffectual, that the whole of that mourning was vol- 
untary on your part? What does that man say in Ter- 
ence who punishes himself, the Self-tormentor ? 

I think I do my son less harm, O Chremes, 
As long as I myself am miserable. 

He determines to be miserable: and can any one deter- 
mine on anything against his will? 

I well might think that I deserved all evil. 

He would think he deserved any misfortune were he oth- 
erwise than miserable! Therefore, you see, the evil is in 
opinion, not in nature. How is it when some things do of 
themselves prevent your grieving at them? as in Homer, 
so many died and were buried daily that they had not 
leisure to grieve: where you find these lines— 

The great, the bold, by thousands daily fall, 
And endless were the grief to weep for all. 
Eternal sorrows what avails to shed ? 

Greece honors not with solemn fasts the dead : 
Enough when death demands the brave to pay 
The tribute of a melancholy day. 

One chief with patience to the grave resign’d, 
Our care devolves on others left behind.* 

Therefore it is in our own power to lay aside grief upon 
occasion; and is there any opportunity (seeing the thing 
is in our own power) that we should let slip of getting rid 
of care and grief? It was plain that the friends of Cnzeus 
Pompeius, when they saw him fainting under his wounds, 
at the very moment of that most miserable and bitter 
sight were under great uneasiness how they themselves, 

? Ainy yap mooi Kai Exnrpipot tjpata Tavra 
minrovow, TOTE Kev TIC dvaTvEdoEe THYNLO ; 
GX yon Toy piv Karabarréper, dc Ke Oavnor, 
yndréa Oupoy éxovtac, ix’ hart Caxpysdvrac.— 
Hom. fl. xix. 226. 


surrounded by. the enemy as they were, should escape, and 
were employed in nothing but encouraging the rowers and 
aiding their escape; but when they reached Tyre, they 
began to grieve and lament over him. Therefore, as fear 
with them prevailed over grief, cannot reason and true 
philosophy have the same effect with a wise man? 
XXVIII. But what is there more effectual to dispel 

grief than the discovery that it answers no purpose, and 
has been undergone to no account? Therefore, if we can 
get rid of it, we need never have been subject to it. It 
must be acknowledged, then, that men take up grief wil- 
fully and knowingly; and this appears from the patience 
of those who, after they have been exercised in afflictions 
and are better able to bear whatever befalls them, suppose 
themselves hardened against fortune; as that person in 
Euripides, : 

Had this the first essay of fortune been, 

And I no storms thro’ all my life had seen, 

Wild as a colt I'd broke from reason’s sway ; 
But frequent griefs have taught me to obey.’ 

As, then, the frequent bearing of misery makes grief the 
lighter, we must necessarily perceive that the cause and 
original of it does not lie in the calamity itself. Your 
principal philosophers, or lovers of wisdom, though they 
have not yet arrived at perfect wisdom, are not they sen- 
sible that they are in the greatest evil? For they are fool- 
ish, and foolishness is the greatest of all evils, and yet they 
lament not.. How shall we account for this? Because 
opinion is not fixed upon that kind of evil, it is not our 
opinion that it is right, meet, and our duty to be uneasy 
because we are not all wise men. Whereas this opinion 
is strongly affixed to that uneasiness where mourning is 
concerned, which is the greatest of all grief. Therefore 
Aristotle, when he blames some ancient philosophers for 
imagining that by their genius they had brought philoso- 

1 This is one of the fragments of Euripides which we are unable to 
assign to any play in particular; it occurs Var. Ed. Tr. Inc. 167. 

El pév 768" hap mp@rov hy Kakoupévp 
Kai wy pakpay o4 dca mévev évavaetoXovy 
eikos opadatew B av, ws vedtuya 

T@Xov, XaAwvov aptiws dedeyuévov* 

viv 3’ duBrdvs elt, Kat KaTnpTUKwS Kak@v. 


phy to the highest perfection, says, they must be either 
extremely foolish or extremely vain; but that he himself 
could see that great improvements had been‘made therein 
in a few years, and that philosophy would in a little time 
arrive at perfection. And Theophrastus is reported to 
have reproached nature at his death for giving to stags 
and crows so long a life, which was of no use to them, 
but allowing only so short a span to men, to whom length 
of days would have been of the greatest use; for if the 
life of man could have been lengthened, it would have been 
able to provide itself with all kinds of learning, and with 
arts in the greatest perfection. He lamented, therefore, 
that he was dying just when he had begun to discover 
these. What! does not every grave and distinguished 
philosopher acknowledge himself ignorant of many things, 
and confess that there are many things which he must 
learn over and over again? And yet, though these men 
are sensible that they are standing still in the very mid- 
way of folly, than which nothing can be worse, they are 
under no great affliction, because no opinion that it is their 
duty to lament is ever mingled with this knowledge. 
What shall we say of those who think it unbecoming in a 
man to grieve? among whom we may reckon Q. Maximus, 
when he buried his son that had been consul, and L. Pau- 
lus, who lost two sons within a few days of one another. 
Of the same opinion was M. Cato, who lost his son just 
after he had been elected preetor, and many others, whose 
names I have collected in my book on Consolation. Now 
what made these men so easy, but their persuasion that 
grief and lamentation was not becoming ina man? There- 
fore, as some give themselves up to grief from an opinion 
that it is right so to do, they refrained themselves, from 
an opinion that it was discreditable; from which we may 
infer that grief is owing more to opinion than nature. 
XXIX. It may be said, on the other side, Who is so 
mad as to grieve of his own accord? Pain proceeds from 
nature, which you must submit to, say they, agreeably to 
what even your own Crantor teaches, for it presses and 
gains upon you unavoidably, and cannot possibly be re- 
sisted. So that the very same Oileus, in Sophocles, who 
had before comforted Telamon on the death of Ajax, on 


hearing of the death of his own son, is broken-hearted. 
On this alteration of his mind we have these lines: 

Show me the man so well by wisdom taught 
That what he charges to another’s fault, 
When like affliction doth himself betide, 
True to his own wise counsel will abide.’ 

Now, when they urge these things, their endeavor is to 
prove that nature is absolutely and wholly irresistible ; 
and yet the same people allow that we take greater grief 
on ourselves than nature requires. What madness is it, 
then, in us to require the same from others? But there 
are many reasons for our taking grief on us. The first is 
from the opinion of some evil, on the discovery and cer- 
tainty of which grief comes of course. Besides, many peo- 
ple are persuaded that they are doing something very ac- 
ceptable to the dead when they lament bitterly over them. 
To these may be added a kind of womanish superstition, 
in imagining that when they have been stricken by the 
afflictions sent by the Gods, to acknowledge themselves 
afflicted and humbled by them is the readiest way of ap- 
peasing them. But most men appear to be unaware what 
contradictions these things are full of. They commend 
those who die calmly, but they blame those who can bear 
the loss of another with the same calmness, as if it were 
possible that it should be true, as is occasionally said in 
love speeches, that any one can love another more than 
himself. There is,indeed, something excellent in this, and, 
if you examine it, something no less just than true, that we 
love those who ought to be most dear to us as well as we 
love ourselves; but to love them more than ourselves is 
absolutely impossible; nor is it desirable in friendship that 
T should love my friend more than myself, or that he should 
love me so; for this would occasion much confusion in 
life, and break in upon all the duties of it, 

1 This is only a fragment, preserved by Stobzeus : 

Tous 3’ Gv peyiarous Kai copwratous ppevi 
, ag n Ts, ~ 
ro.ovad tdors Gv, o1ds ote viv bde, 
Kah@s Kak@s TpaccoyTt cuprapawécat” 
‘ 1 2 
Stay dé daiuwv avdpos ebtuxovs TO mpiv 
fo sot , 

pdoriy tpeioy tov Biov waXivtporoy, 

‘ 4 ; Pe rag 
Ta TWOAKG Ppovda Kai Kak&> eipnpéva, 


XXX. But we will speak of this another time: at pres- 
ent it is sufficient not to attribute our misery to the loss of 
our friends, nor to love them more than, if they themselves 
could be sensible of our conduct, they would approve of, 
or at least not more than we do ourselves. Now as to 
what they say, that some are not at all appeased by our 
consolations; and, moreover, as to what they add, that 
the comforters themselves acknowledge they are miserable 
when fortune varies the attack and falls on them—in both 
these cases the solution is easy: for the fault here is not 
in nature, but in our own folly; and much may be said 
against folly. But men who do not admit of consolation 
seem to bespeak misery for themselves ; and they who can- 
not bear their misfortunes with that temper which they 
recommend to others are not more faulty in this particu- 
lar than most other persons; for we see that covetous 
men find fault with others who are covetous, as do the 
vainglorious with those who appear too wholly devoted 
to the pursuit of glory. For it is the peculiar character- 
istic of folly to perceive the vices of others, but to for- 
get its own. But since we find that grief is removed 
by length of time, we have the greatest proof that the 
strength of it depends not merely on time, but on the daily 
consideration of it. For if the cause continues the same, 
and the man be the same, how can there be any alteration 
in the grief, if there is no change in what occasioned the 
grief, nor in him who grieves? Therefore it is from daily 
reflecting that there is no real evil in the circumstance for 
which you grieve, and not from the length of time, that 
you procure a remedy for your grief. 

XXXI. Here some people talk of moderate grief; but 
if such be natural, what occasion is there for consolation ? 
for nature herself will determine the measure of it: but if 
it depends on and is caused by opinion, the whole opinion 
should be destroyed. I think that it has been sufficiently 
said, that grief arises from an opinion of some present 
evil, which includes this belief, that it is incumbent on us 
to grieve. To this definition Zeno has added, very justly, 
that the opinion of this present evil should be recent. Now 
this word recent they explain thus: those are not the only 
recent things which happened a little while ago; but as 


long as there shall be any force, or vigor, or freshness in 
that imagined evil, so long it is entitled to the name of re- 
cent. Take the case of Artemisia, the wife of Mausolus, 
King of Caria, who made that noble sepulchre at Halicar- 
nassus ; while she lived, she lived in grief, and died of it, 
being worn out by it, for that opinion was always recent 
with her: but you cannot call that recent which has al- 
ready begun to decay through time. Now the duty of a 
comforter is, to remove grief entirely, to quiet it, or draw 
it off as much as you can, or else to keep it under, and 
prevent its spreading any further, and to divert one’s at- 
tention to other matters. There are some who think, with 
Cleanthes, that the only duty of a comforter is to prove 
that what one is lamenting is by no means an evil. Oth- 
ers, as the Peripatetics, prefer urging that the evil is not 
great. Others, with Epicurus, seek to divert your atten- 
tion from the evil to good: some think it sufficient to 
show that nothing has happened but what you had reason 
to expect ; and this is the practice of the Cyrenaics. But 
Chrysippus thinks that the main thing in comforting is, 
to.remove the opinion from the person who is grieving, 
that to grieve is his bounden duty. There are others who 
bring together all these various kinds of consolations, for 
people are differently affected ; as I have done myself in 
my book on Consolation; for as my own mind was much 
disordered, I have attempted in that book to discover ey- 
ery method of cure. But the proper season is as much to 
be attended to in the cure of the mind as of the body; as 
Prometheus in Aischylus, on its being said to him, 

. I think, Prometheus, you this tenet hold, 
That all men’s reason should their rage control ? 

Yes, when one reason properly applies ; 
Ill-timed advice will make the storm but rise.? 

XXXII. But the principal medicine to be applied in 
consolation is, to maintain either that it is no evil at all, 

2 Or. Obxoty pounded rovro yryvwoxee bre 
épyii¢ vooovane eisiv iarpoi Aéyou 
Tip. éav ric év app ye padOdaooy Kedp 
kai pw) opptyGyra Ovpdy isxvaivn Bia.— 
isch. Prom. v. 378, 


‘or a very inconsiderable one: the next best to that is, to 
speak of the common condition of life, having a view, if 
possible, to the state of the person whom you comfort par- 
ticularly. The third is, that it is folly to wear one’s self 
out with grief which can avail nothing. For the comfort 
of Cleanthes is suitable only for a wise man, who is in no 
need of any comfort at all; for could you persuade one in 
grief that nothing is an evil but what is base, you would 
not only cure. him of grief, but folly. But the time for 
such precepts is not well chosen. - Besides, Cleanthes does 
not seem to me sufficiently aware that affliction may very 
often proceed from that very thing which he himself al- 
lows to be the greatest misfortune. For what shall we 
say? When Socrates had convinced Alcibiades, as we 
are told, that he had no distinctive qualifications as a man 
different from other people, and that, in fact, there was no 
difference between him, though a man of the highest rank, 
and a porter; and when Alcibiades became uneasy at this, 
and entreated Socrates, with tears in his eyes, to make him 
a man of virtue, and to cure him of that mean position; 
what shall we say to this, Cleanthes? Was there no evil 
in what afflicted Alcibiades thus? What strange things 
does Lycon say? who, making light of grief, says that it 
arises from trifles, from things that affect our fortune or 
bodies, not from the evils of the mind. What, then? did 
not the grief of Alcibiades proceed from the defects and 
evils of the mind? I have already said enough of Epicu- 
rus’s consolation. 

XX XIII. Nor is that consolation much to be relied on, 
though it is frequently practised, and sometimes has some 
effect, namely, “That you are not alone in this.” It has 
its effect, as I said, but not always, nor with every person, 
for some reject it; but much depends on the application 
of it; for you ought rather to show, not how men in gen- 
eral have been affected with such evils, but how men of 
sense have borne them. As to Chrysippus’s method, it is 
certainly founded in truth; but it is difficult to apply it in 
time of distress. It is a work of no small difficulty to 
persuade a person in affliction that he grieves merely be- 
cause he thinks it right so to do. Certainly, then, as in 
pleadings we do not state all cases alike (if 1 may adopt 


the language of lawyers for a moment), but adapt what 
we have to say to the time, to the nature of the subject 
under debate, and to the person; so, too, in alleviating 
grief, regard should be had to what kind of eure the party 
to be comforted can admit of. But, somehow or other, 
we have rambled from what you originally proposed. For 
your question was concerning a wise man, with whom 
nothing can have the appearance of evil that is not dishon- 
orable ; or at least, anything else would seem so small an 
evil that by his wisdom he would so overmatch it as to 
make it wholly disappear; and such a man makes no addi- 
tion to his grief through opinion, and never conceives it 
right to torment himself above measure, nor to wear him- 
self out with grief, which is the meanest thing imagina- 
ble. Reason, however, it seems, has demonstrated (though 
it was not directly our object. at the moment to inquire 
whether anything can be called an evil except what is 
base) that it is in our power to discern that all the evil 
which there is in affliction has nothing natural in it, but is 
contracted by our own voluntary judgment of it, and the 
error of opinion. 

XXXIV. But the kind of affliction of which I have 
treated is that which is the greatest; in order that when 
we have once got rid of that, it may appear a business of 
less consequence to.look after remedies for the others, For 
there are certain things which are usually said about poy- 
erty; and also certain statements ordinarily applied to re- 
tired and undistinguished life. There are particular trea- 
tises on banishment, on the ruin of one’s country, on sla- 
very, on weakness, on blindness, and on every incident that 
can come under the name of an evil. The Greeks divide 
these into different treatises and distinct books; but they 
do it for the sake of employment: not but that all such 
discussions are full of entertainment. And yet, as physi- 
cians, in curing the whole body, attend to even the most 
insignificant part of the body which is at all disordered, 
so does philosophy act, after it has removed grief in gen- 
eral; still, if any other deficiency exists—should poverty 
bite, should ignominy sting, should banishment bring a 
dark cloud over us, or should any of those things which I 
have just mentioned appear, there is for each its appropri- 



ate consolation, which you shall hear whenever you please. 
But we must have recourse again to the same original 
principle, that a wise man is free from all sorrow, because 
it is vain, because it answers no purpose, because it is not 
founded in nature, but-on opinion and prejudice, and is 
engendered by a kind of invitation to grieve, when once 
men have imagined that it is their duty to do so. When, 
then, we have subtracted what is altogether voluntary, that 
mournful uneasiness will be removed; yet some little anx- 
iety, some slight pricking, will still remain. They may in- 
deed call this natural, provided they give it not that hor- 
rid, solemn, melancholy name of grief, which can by no 
means consist with wisdom. But how various and how 
bitter are the roots of grief! Whatever they are, I pro- 
pose, after having felled the trunk, to destroy them all; 
even if it should be necessary, by allotting a separate dis- 
sertation to each, for I have leisure enough to do so, what- 
ever time it may take up. But the principle of every un- 
easiness is the same, though they may appear under differ- 
ent names. For envy is an uneasiness; so are emulation, 
detraction, anguish, sorrow, sadness, tribulation, lamenta- 
tion, vexation, grief, trouble, affliction, and despair. The 
Stoics define all these different feelings; and all those 
words which I have mentioned belong to different things, 
and do not, as they seem, express the same ideas; but they 
are to a certain extent distinct, as I shall make appear per- 
haps in another place. These ave those fibres of the roots 
which, as I said at first, must be traced back and cut off 
and destroyed, so that not one shall remain. You say it 
is a great and difficult undertaking: who denies it? But 
what is there of any excellency which has not its difficulty ? 
Yet philosophy undertakes to effect it, provided we ad- 
mit its superintendence. But enough of this. The other 
books, whenever you please, shall be ready for you here 
or anywhere else. 



I. I wave often wondered, Brutus, on many occasions, 
at the ingenuity and virtues of our countrymen; but 
nothing has surprised me more than their development 
in those studies, which, though they came somewhat late 
to us, have been transported into this city from Greece. 
For the system of auspices, and religious ceremonies, and 
courts of justice, and appeals to the people, the senate, 
the establishment of an army of cayalry and infantry, and 
the whole military discipline, were instituted as early as 
the foundation of the city by royal authority, partly too 
by laws, not without the assistance of the Gods. Then 
with what a surprising and incredible progress did our 
ancestors advance towards all kind of excellence, when 
once the republic was freed from the regal power! Not 
that this is a proper occasion to treat of the manners and 
customs of our ancestors, or of the discipline and consti- 
tution of the city; for I have elsewhere, particularly in 
the six books I wrote on the Republic, given a sufficient- 
ly accurate account of them. But while I am on this 
subject, and considering the study of philosophy, I meet 
with many reasons to imagine that those studies were 
brought to us from abroad, and not merely imported, but 
preserved and improved; for they had Pythagoras, a man 
of consummate wisdom and nobleness of character, in a 
manner, before their eyes, who was in Italy at the time 
that Lucius Brutus, the illustrious founder of your nobil- 
ity, delivered his country from tyranny. As the doctrine 
of Pythagoras spread itself on all sides, it seems probable 
to me that it reached this city; and this is not only prob- 
able of itself, but it does really appear to have been the 
case from many remains-of it. For who can imagine 
that, when it flourished so much in that part of Italy 
which was called Magna Grecia, and in some of the 


largest and most powerful cities, in which, first the name 
of Pythagoras, and then that of those men who were af- 
terward his followers, was in so high esteem; who can 
imagine, I say, that our people could shut their ears to 
what was said by such learned men? Besides, it is even 
my opinion that it was the great esteem in which the Py- 
thagoreans were held, that gave rise to that opinion among 
those who came after him, that King Numa was a Py-” 
thagorean. For, being acquainted with the doctrine and 
principles of Pythagoras, and having heard from their an- 
cestors that this king was a very wise and just man, and 
not being able to distinguish accurately between times 
and periods that were so remote, they inferred, from his 
being so eminent for his wisdom, that he had been a pu- 
pil of Pythagoras. 

Il. So far we proceed on conjecture. As to the ves- 
tiges of the Pythagoreans, though I might collect many, 
I shall use but a few; because they have no connection 
with our present purpose. For, as it is reported to have 
been a custom with them to deliver certain precepts in a 
more abstruse manner in verse, and to bring their minds 
from severe thought to a more composed state by songs 
and musical instruments; so Cato, a writer of the very 
highest authority, says in his Origins, that it was custom- 
ary with our ancestors for the guests at their entertain- 
ments, every one in his turn, to celebrate the praises and 
virtues of illustrious men in song to the sound of the 
flute; from whence it is clear that poems and songs were 
then composed for the voice. And, indeed, it is also clear 
that poetry was in fashion from the laws of the Twelve 
Tables, wherein it is provided that no song should be 
made to the injury of another. Another argument of the 
erudition of those times is, that they played on instru- 
ments before the shrines of their Gods, and at the en- 
tertainments of their magistrates; but that custom was pe- 
culiar to the sect I am speaking of. To me, indeed, that 
poem of Appius Cacus, which Panetius commends so 
much in a certain letter of his which is addressed to 
Quintus Tubero, has all the marks of a Pythagorean au- 
thor. We have many things derived from the Pythago- 
reans in our customs, which I pass over, that we may 





not seem to have learned that elsewhere which we look 
upon ourselves as the inventors of. But to return to our 
purpose. How many great poets as well as orators have 
sprung up among us! and in what a short time! so that 
it is evident that our people could arrive at any learning 
as soon as they had an inclination for it. But of other 
studies I shall speak elsewhere if there is occasion, as I 
have already often done. 

» IIL. The study of philosophy is certainly of long stand- 
ing with us; but yet I do not find that I can give-you the 
names of any philosopher before the age of Lelius and 
Scipio, in whose younger days we find that Diogenes the 
Stoic, and Carneades the Academic, were sent as ambas- 
sadors by the Athenians to our senate. And as these had 
never been concerned in public affairs, and one of them 
was a Cyrenean, the other a Babylonian, they certainly 
would never have been forced from their studies, nor 
chosen for that employment, unless the study of philoso- 
phy had been in vogue with some of the great men at that 
time; who, though they might employ their pens on oth- 
er subjects—some on civil law, others on oratory, others 
on the history of former times—yet promoted this most 
extensive of all arts, the principle of living well, even more 
by their life than by their writings. So that of that true 
and elegant philosophy (which was derived from Soc- 
rates, and is still preserved by the Peripatetics and by 
the Stoics, though they express themselves differently in 
their disputes with the Academics) there are few or no 
Latin records; whether this proceeds from the impor- 
tance of the thing itself, or from men’s being otherwise em- 
ployed, or from their concluding that the capacity of the 
people was not equal to the apprehension of them. But, 
during this silence, C. Amafinius arose and took upon him- 
self to speak; on the publishing of whose writings the 
people were moved, and enlisted themselves chiefly under 
this sect, either because the doctrine was more easily 
understood, or because they were invited thereto by the 
pleasing thoughts of amusement, or that, because there 
was nothing better, they laid hold of what was offered 
them. And after Amafinius, when many of the same sen- 
timents had written much about them, the Pythagoreans 


spread over all Italy: but that these doctrines should be 
so easily understood and approved of by the unlearned is 
a great proof that they were not written with any great 
subtlety, and they think their establishment to be owing 
to this. 

IV. But let every one defend his own opinion, for every 
one is at liberty to choose what he likes: I shall keep to 
my old custom; and, being under no restraint from the 
laws of any particular school, which in philosophy every 
one must necessarily confine himself to, I shall always in- 
quire what has the most probability in every question, and 
this system, which I have often practised on other occa- 
sions, I have adhered closely to in my Tusculan Disputa- 
tions. Therefore, as I have acquainted you with the dis- 
putations of the three former days, this book shall con- 
clude the discussion of the fourth day. When we had 
come down into the Academy, as we had done the former 
days, the business was carried on thus: 

M. Let any one say, who pleases, what he would wish 
to have discussed. 

A. I do not think a wise man can possibly be free from 
every perturbation of mind. 

M. He seemed by yesterday’s discourse to be free from 
grief; unless you agreed with us only to avoid taking up time, 

A, Not at all on that account, for I was extremely satis- 
fied with your discourse. 

M. You do not think, then, that a wise man is subject 
to grief ? 

A, No, by no means. 

M. But if that cannot disorder the mind of a wise man, 
nothing else can. For what—can such a man be disturbed 
by fear? Fear proceeds from the same things when ab- 
sent which occasion grief when present. Take away grief, 
then, and you remove fear. . 

The two remaining perturbations are, a joy elate above 
measure, and lust; and if a wise man is not subject to 
these, his mind will be always at rest. 

A. Tam entirely of that opinion. 

M. Which, then, shall we do? Shall I immediately 
crowd all my sails? or shall I make use of my oars, as if 
I were just endeavoring to get clear of the harbor? 


A, What is it that you mean, for I do not exactly com- 
prehend you? 

V. M. Because, Chrysippus and the Stoics, when they 
discuss the perturbations of the mind, make great part 
of their debate to consist in definitions and distinctions; 
while they employ but few words on the subject of cur- 
ing the mind, and preventing it from being disordered. 
Whereas the Peripatetics bring a great many things to 
promote the cure of it, but have no regard to their thorny 
partitions and definitions. My question, then, was, whether 
I should instantly unfold the sails of my eloquence, or be 
content for a while to make less way with the oars of logic? 

A, Let it be so; for by the employment of both these 
means the subject of our inquiry will be more thoroughly 

MM. It is certainly the better way; and should anything 
be too obscure, you may examine that afterward. 

A. I will do so; but those very obscure points you will, 
as usual, deliver with more clearness than the Greeks. © 

M. I will, indeed, endeavor to do so; but it well re- 
quires great attention, lest, by losing one word, the whole 
should escape you. What the Greeks call za) we choose 
to name perturbations (or disorders) rather than diseases ; 
in explaining which, I shall follow, first, that very old de- 
scription of Pythagoras, and afterward that of Plato; for 
they both divide the mind into two parts, and make one 
of these partake of reason, and the other they represent 
without it. In that which partakes of reason they place 
tranquillity, that is to say, a placid and undisturbed con- 
stancy; to the other they assign the turbid motions of an- 
ger and desire, which are contrary and opposite to reason. 
Let this, then, be our principle, the spring of all our rea- 
sonings. But notwithstanding, I shall use the partitions 
and definitions of the Stoics in describing these perturba- 
tions; who seem to me to have shown very great acute- 
ness on this question. 

VI. Zeno’s definition, then, is this: “A perturbation” 
(which he calls a ra@oc) “is a commotion of the mind re- 
pugnant to reason, and against nature.” Some of them 
define it even more briefly, saying that a perturbation is 
a somewhat too vehement appetite; but by too vehement 


they mean an appetite that recedes further from the con- 
stancy of nature. But they would have the divisions of 
perturbations to arise from two imagined goods, and from 
two imagined evils; and thus they become four: from the 
good proceed lust and joy—joy having reference to some 
present good, and lust to some future one. They suppose 
fear and grief to proceed from evils: fear from something 
future, grief from something present; for whatever things 
are dreaded as approaching always occasion grief when 
present. But joy and lust depend on the opinion of good ; 
as lust, being inflamed and provoked, is carried on eager- 
ly towards what has the appearance of good; and joy is 
transported and exults on obtaining what was desired: for 
we naturally pursue those things that have the appearance 
of good, and avoid the contrary. Wherefore, as soon as 
anything that has the appearance of good presents itself, 
nature incites us to endeavor to obtain it. Now, where 
this strong desire is consistent and founded on prudence, 
it is by the Stoics called BotAnoc, and the name which we 
give it is volition; and this they allow to none but their 
wise man, and define it thus: Volition is a reasonable de- 
sire; but whatever is incited too violently in opposition to 
reason, that is a lust, or an unbridled desire, which is dis- 
coverable in all fools. And, therefore, when we are affect- 
ed so as to be placed in any good condition, we are moved 
in two ways; for when the mind is moved in a placid and 
calm motion, consistent with reason, that is called joy; 
but when it exults with a vain, wanton exultation, or im- 
moderate joy, then that feeling may be called immoderate 
ecstasy or transport, which they define to be an elation of 
the mind without reason. And as we naturally desire good 
things, so in like manner we naturally seek to avoid what 
is evil; and this avoidance of which, if conducted in ac- 
cordance with reason, is called caution; and this the wise 
man alone is supposed to have: but that caution which is 
not under the guidance of reason, but is attended with a 
base and low dejection, is called fear. Fear is, therefore, 
caution destitute of reason. But a wise man is not affect- 
- ed by any present evil; while the grief of a fool proceeds 
- from being affected with an imaginary evil, by which his 
mind is contracted and sunk, since it is not under the do- 


minion of reason. This, then, is the first definition, which 
makes grief to consist in a shrinking of the mind contra- 
ry to the dictates of reason. Thus, there are four pertur- 
bations, and but three calm rational emotions; for grief 
has no exact opposite. 

VII. But they insist upon it that all perturbations de- 
pend on opinion and judgment; therefore they define 
them more strictly, in order not only the better to show 
how blamable they are, but to discover how much they 
are in our power. Grief, then, is a recent opinion of some 
present evil,in which it seems to be right that the mind 
should shrink and be dejected. Joy is a recent opinion 
of a present good, in which it seems to be right that the 
mind should be elated. Fear is an opinion of an impend- 
ing evil which we apprehend will be intolerable. _ Lust is 
an opinion of a good to come, which would be of advan- 
tage were it already come, and present with us. But how- 
ever I have named the judgments and opinions of pertur- 
bations, their meaning is, not that merely the perturbations 
consist in them, but that the effects likewise of these per- 
turbations do so; as grief occasions a kind of painful 
pricking, and fear engenders a recoil or sudden abandon- 
ment of the mind, joy gives rise to a profuse mirth, 
while lust is the parent of an unbridled habit of coveting. 
But that imagination, which I have included in all the 
above definitions, they would have to consist in assenting 
without warrantable grounds. Now, every perturbation 
has many subordinate parts annexed to it of the same 
kind. Grief is attended with enviousness (invidentia)—I 
use that word for instruction’s sake, theugh it is not so 
common; because envy (invidia) takes in not only. the 
person who envies, but the person, too, who is envied—em- 
ulation, detraction, pity, vexation, mourning, sadness, trib- 
ulation, sorrow, lamentation, solicitude, disquiet of mind, 
pain, despair, and many other similar feelings are so too. 
Under fear are comprehended sloth, shame, terror, coward- 
ice, fainting, confusion, astonishment. In pleasure they 
comprehend malevolence—that is, pleased at another’s mis- 
fortune—delight, boastfulness, and the like. To lust they 
associate anger, fury, hatred, enmity, discord, wants, desire, 
and other feelings of that kind. 


But they define these in this manner: 

VIII. Enviousness (invidentia), they say, is a grief aris- 
ing from the prosperous circumstances of another, which 
are in no degree injurious to the person who envies ; for 
where any one grieves at the prosperity of another, by 
which he is injured, such a one is not properly said to 
envy—as when Agamemnon grieves at Hector’s success ; 
but where any one, who is in no way hurt by the prosper- 
ity of another, is in pain at his success, such a one envies 
indeed. Now the name “emulation” is taken in a double 
sense, so that the same word may stand for praise and 
dispraise: for the imitation of virtue is called emulation 
(however, that sense of it I shall have no occasion for 
here, for that carries praise with it); but emulation is 
also a term applied to grief at another’s enjoying what I 
desired to have, and am without. Detraction (and I mean 
by that, jealousy) is a grief even at another’s enjoying 
what I had a great inclination for. Pity is a grief at the 
misery of another who suffers wrongfully; for no one is 
moved by pity at the punishment of a parricide or of a 
betrayer of his country. Vexation is a pressing grief. 
Mourning is a grief at the bitter death of one who was 
dear to you. Sadness is a grief attended with tears. 
Tribulation is a painful grief. Sorrow, an excruciating 
grief. Lamentation, a grief where we loudly bewail our- 
selves. Solicitude, a pensive grief. Trouble, a continued 
grief. Affliction, a grief that harasses the body. De- 
spair, a grief that excludes all hope of better things to 
come. But those feelings which are included under fear, 
they define thus: There is sloth, which is a dread of some 
ensuing labor; shame and terror, which affeet the body— 
hence blushing attends shame; a paleness, and tremor, and 
chattering of the teeth attend terror—cowardice, which is 
an apprehension of some approaching evil; dread, a fear 
that unhinges the mind, whence comes that line of En- 

Then dread discharged all wisdom from my mind; 

fainting is the associate and constant attendant on dread ; 
confusion, a fear that drives away all thought; alarm, a 
continued fear. 


IX. The different species into which they divide pleas- 
ure come under this description; so that malevolence is a 
pleasure in the misfortunes of another, without any advan- 
tage to yourself; delight, a pleasure that soothes the mind 
by agreeable impressions on the ear. What is said of the 
ear may be applied to the sight, to the touch, smell, and 
taste. All feelings of this kind are a sort of melting pleas- 
ure that dissolves the mind. Boastfulness is a pleasure 
that consists in making an appearance, and setting off your- 
self with insolence.—The subordinate species of lust they 
define in this manner: Anger is a lust of punishing any one 
who, as we imagine, has injured us without cause. Heat 
is anger just forming and beginning to exist, which the 
Greeks call @ipworr, Hatred is a settled anger. Enmity 
is anger waiting for an opportunity of revenge. Discord 
is a sharper anger conceived deeply in the mind and heart. 
Want an insatiable lust. Regret is when one eagerly 
-wishes to see a person who is absent. Now here they 
have a distinction ; so that with them regret is a lust con- 
ceived on hearing of certain things reported of some one, 
or of many, which the Greeks call xarnyophpara, or predic- 
aments; as that they are in possession of riches and hon- 
ors: but want is a lust for those very honors and riches. 
But these definers make intemperance the fountain of all 
these perturbations; which is an absolute revolt from the 
mind and right reason —a state so averse to all rules of 
reason, that the appetites of the mind can by no means be 
governed and restrained. As, therefore, temperance ap- 
peases these desires, making them obey right reason, and 
maintains the well-weighed judgments of the mind, so in- 
temperance, which is in opposition to this, inflames, con- 
founds, and puts every state of the mind into a violent mo- 
tion. Thus, grief and fear, and every other perturbation 
of the mind, liave their rise from intemperance. 

X. Just as distempers and sickness are bred in the 
body from the corruption of the blood, and tlie too great 
abundance of phlegm and bile, so the mind is deprived of 
its health, and disordered with sickness, from a confusion 
of depraved opinions that are in opposition to one another. 
From these perturbations arise, first, diseases, which they 
call voohpara; and also those feelings which are in opposi- 


tion to these diseases, and which admit certain faulty dis- 
tastes or loathings; then come sicknesses, which are called 
appworhpara by the Stoics, and these two have their op- 
posite aversious. Here the Stoics, especially Chrysippus, 
give themselves unnecessary trouble to show the analogy 
which the diseases of the mind have to those of the body: 
but, overlooking all that they say as of little consequence, 
I shall treat only of the thing itself. Let us, then, under- 
stand perturbation to imply a restlessness from the varie- 
ty and confusion of contradictory opinions; and that when 
this heat and disturbance of the mind is of any standing, 
and has taken up its residence, as it were, in the veins and 
marrow, then commence diseases and sickness, and those 
aversions which are in opposition to these diseases and 

XI. What I say here may be distinguished in thought, 
though they are in fact the same; inasmuch as they both 
have their rise from lust and joy. For should money be 
the object of our desire, and should we not instantly apply 
to reason, as if it were a kind of Socratic medicine to heal 
this desire, the evil glides into our veins, and cleaves to 
our bowels, and from thence proceeds a distemper or sick- 
ness, which, when it is of any continuance, is incurable, and 
the name of this disease is covetousness. It is the same 
with other diseases; as the desire of glory, a passion for 
women, to which the Greeks give the name of g:Aoyuveia: 
and thus all other diseases and sicknesses are generated. 
But those feelings which are the contrary of these are 
supposed to have fear for their foundation, as a hatred of 
wonien, such as is displayed in the Woman-hater of Atil- 
ius; or the hatred of the whole human species, as Timon 
is reported to have done, whom they eall the Misanthrope. 
Of the same kind is inhospitality. And all these diseases 
proceed from a certain dread of such things as they hate 
and avoid. But they define sickness of mind to be an 
overweening opinion, and that fixed and deeply implanted 
in the heart, of something as very desirable which is by 
no means so. What proceeds from aversion, they define 
thus: ‘a vehement idea of something to be avoided, deep- 
ly implanted, and inherent in our minds, when there is no 
reason for avoiding it; and this kind of opinion is a de- 


liberate belief that one understands things of which one - 
is wholly ignorant. Now, sickness of the mind has all 
these subordinate divisions: avarice, ambition, fondness 
for women, obstinacy, gluttony, drunkenness, covetousness, 
and other similar vices. But avarice is a violent opin- 
ion about money, as if it were vehemently to be desired and 
sought after, which opinion is deeply implanted and inher- 
ent in our minds; and the definition of all the other simi- 
lar feelings resembles these. But the definitions of aver- 
sions are of this sort: inhospitality is a vehement opinion, 
deeply implanted and inherent in your mind, that you 
should avoid a stranger. Thus, too, the hatred of women, 
like that felt by Hippolytus, is defined ; and the hatred of 
the human species like that displayed by Timon. 

XII. But to come to the analogy of the state of body 
and mind, which I shall sometimes make use of, though 
more sparingly than the Stoics. Some men are more in- 
clined to particular disorders than others; and, therefore, 
we say that some people are rheumatic, others dropsical, 
not because they are so at present, but because they are 
often so: some are inclined to fear, others to some other 
perturbation. Thus in some there is a continual anxiety, 
owing to which they are anxious; in some a hastiness of 
temper, which differs from anger, as anxiety differs from 
anguish: for all are not anxious who are sometimes vexed, 
nor are they who are anxious always uneasy in that man- 
ner: as there is a difference between being drunk and 
drunkenness; and it is one thing to be a lover, another to 
be given to women. And this disposition of particular 
people to particular disorders is very common: for it re- 
lates to all perturbations; it appears in many vices, though 
it has no name. Some are, therefore, said to be envious, 
malevolent, spiteful, fearful, pitiful, from a propensity to 
those perturbations, not from their being always carried 
away by them. Now this propensity to these particular 
disorders may be called a sickness from analogy with the 
body; meaning, that is to say, nothing more than a pro- 
pensity towards sickness. But with regard to whatever 
is good, as some are more inclined to different good qual- 
ities than others, we may call this a facility or tendency: 
this tendency to evil is a proclivity or inclination to falling ; 


but where anything is neither good nor bad, it may have 
the former name. 

XIII. Even as there may be, with respect to the body, 
a disease, a sickness, and a defect, so it is with the mind. 
They call that a disease where the whole body is corrupt- 
ed; they call that sickness where a disease is attended 
with a weakness, and that a defect where the parts of 
the body are not well compacted together; from whence 
it follows that the members are misshapen, crooked, and 
deformed. So that these two, a disease and sickness, pro- 
ceed from a violent concussion and perturbation of the 
health of the whole body; but a defect discovers itself 
even when the body is in perfect health. But a disease 
of the mind is distinguishable only in thought from a sick- 
ness. But a viciousness is a habit or affection discordant 
and inconsistent with itself through life. Thus it happens 
that, in the one case, a disease and sickness may arise 
from a corruption of opinions; in the other case, the con- 
sequence may be inconstancy and inconsistency. For ev- 
ery vice of the mind does not imply a disunion of parts; 
as is the case with those who are not far from being wise 
men. With them there is that affection which is incgn- 
sistent with itself while it is foolish; but it is not distort- 
ed, nor depraved. But diseases and sicknesses are parts 
of viciousness ; but it is a question whether perturbations 
are parts of the same, for vices are permanent affections: 
perturbations are such as are restless; so that they cannot 
be parts of permanent ones. As there is some analogy 
between the nature of the body and mind in evil, so is 
there in good; for the distinctions of the body are beauty, 
strength, health, firmness, quickness of motion: the same 
may be said of the mind. The body is said to be in a 
good state when all those things on which health depends 
are consistent: the same may be said of the mind when 
its judgments and opinions are not at variance with one 
another. And this union is the virtue of the mind, which, 
according to some people, is temperance itself; others 
make it consist in an obedience to the precepts of temper- 
ance, and a compliance with them, not allowing it to be ~ 
any distinct species of itself. But, be it one or the other, 
it is to be found only in a wise man. But there is a cer- 


tain soundness of mind, which even a fool may have, when 
the perturbation of his mind is removed by the care and 
management of his physicians- And as what is called 
beauty arises from an exact proportion of the limbs, to- 
gether with a certain sweetness of complexion, so the 
beauty of the mind consists in an equality and constancy 
of opinions and judgments, joined to a certain firmness ~ 
and stability, pursuing virtue, or containing within itself 
the very essence of virtue. Besides, we give the very 
same names to the faculties of the mind as we do to the 
powers of the body, the nerves, and other powers of action. 
Thus the velocity of the body is called swiftness: a praise 
which we ascribe to the mind, from its running over in its 
thoughts so many things in so short a time. 

XIV. Herein, indeed, the mind and body are unlike: 
that though the mind when in perfect health may be visit- 
ed by sickness, as the body may, yet the body may be dis- 
ordered without our fault; the mind cannot. For all the 
disorders and perturbations of the mind proceed from a 
neglect of reason; these disorders, therefore, are confined 
to men: the beasts are not subject to such perturbations, 
though they act sometimes as if they had reason. There 
is a difference, too, between ingenious and dull men; the 
ingenious, like the Corinthian brass, which is long before 
it receives rust, are longer before they fall into these per- 
turbations, and are recovered sooner: the case is different 
with the dull. Nor does the mind of an ingenious man 
fall into every kind of perturbation, for it never yields to 
any that are brutish and savage; and some of their per- 
turbations have at first even the appearance of humanity, 
as mercy, grief, and fear. But the sicknesses and diseases 
of the mind are thought to be harder to eradicate than 
those leading vices which are in opposition to virtues; for 
vices may be removed, though the diseases of the mind 
should continue, which diseases are not cured with that 
expedition with which vices are removed. I have now 
acquainted you with the arguments which the Stoics put 
forth with such exactness; which they call logic, from 
their close arguing: and since-my discourse has got clear 
of these rocks, I will proceed with the remainder of it, 
provided I have been sufficiently clear in what I have al- 


ready said, considering the obscurity of the subject I have 

A. Clear enough; but should there be occasion for a 
more exact inquiry, I shall take another opportunity of 
asking you. I expect you now to hoist your sails, as you 
just now called them, and proceed on your course. 

XV. M. Since I have spoken before of virtue in other 
places, and shall often have occasion to speak again (for a 
great many questions that relate to life and manners arise 
from the spring of virtue) ; and since, as I say, virtue con- 
sists in a settled and uniform affection of mind, making 
those persons praiseworthy who are possessed of her, she 
herself also, independent of anything else, without regard 
to any advantage, must be praiseworthy; for from her 
proceed good inclinations, opinions, actions, and the whole 
of right reason; though virtue may be defined in a few 
words to be right reason itself. The opposite to this is 
viciousness (for so I choose to translate what the Greeks 
call xaxia, rather than by perverseness; for perverseness is 
the name of a particular vice; but viciousness includes 
all), from whence arise those perturbations which, as I 
just now said, are turbid and violent motions of the mind, 
repugnant to reason, and enemies in a high degree to the 
peace of the mind and a tranquil life, for they introduce 
piercing and anxious cares, and afflict and debilitate the 
mind through fear; they violently inflame our hearts with 
exaggerated appetite, which is in reality an impotence of 
mind, utterly irreconcilable with temperance and moder- 
ation, which we sometimes call desire, and sometimes lust, 
and which, should it even attain the object of its wishes, 
immediately becomes so elated that it loses all its reselu- 
tion, and knows not what to pursue; so that he was in the 
right who said “that exaggerated pleasure was the very 
greatest of mistakes.” Virtue, then, alone can effect the 
cure of these evils. 

XVI. For what is not only more miserable, but more 
base and sordid, than a man afflicted, weakened, and op- 
pressed with grief? And little short of this misery is one 
who dreads some approaching evil, and who, through - 
faintheartedness, is under continual suspense. The poets, 
to express the greatness of this evil, imagine a stone to 


hang over the head of Tantalus, as a punishment for his 
wickedness, his pride, and his boasting. And this is the 
common punishment of folly; for there hangs over the 
head of every one whose mind revolts from reason some 
similar fear. And as these perturbations of the mind, 
grief and fear, are of a most wasting nature, so those two 
others, though of a more merry cast (I mean lust, which 
is always coveting something with eagerness, and empty 
mirth, which is an exulting joy), differ very little from 
madness. Hence you may understand what sort of person 
he is whom we call at one time moderate, at another mod- 
est or temperate, at another constant and virtuous; while 
sometimes we include all these names in the word frugal- 
ity, as the crown of all; for if that word did not include 
all virtues, it would never have. been proverbial to say that 
a frugal man does everything rightly. . But when the Stoics 
apply this saying to their wise man, they seem to exalt him 
too much, and to speak of him with too much admiration. 

XVII. Whoever, then, through moderation and constan- 
cy, is at rest in his mind, and in calm possession of him- 
self, so as pine with care, nor be dejected with 
fear, nor to be inflamed with desire, coveting something 
greedily, nor relaxed by extravagant mirth—such.a man 
is that identical wise man whom we are inquiring for: he 
is the happy man, to whom nothing in this life seems in- 
tolerable enough to depress him; nothing exquisite enough 
to transport him unduly. For what is there in this life 
that can appear great. to him who has acquainted himself 
with eternity and the utmost extent of the universe? For 
what is there in human knowledge, or the short span of 
this life, that can appear great to a wise man? whose mind 
is always so upon its guard that nothing can befall him 
which is unforeseen, nothing which is unexpected, noth- 
ing, in short, which is new. Such a man takes so exact a 
survey on all sides of him, that he always knows the prop- 
er place and spot to live in free from all the troubles and 
annoyances of life, and encounters every accident that fort- 
une can bring upon him with a becoming calmness. Who- 
ever conducts himself in this manner will be free from 
grief, and from every other perturbation; and a mind free 
from these feelings renders men completely happy; where- 


as a mind disordered and drawn off from right and un- 
erring reason loses at once, not only its resolution, but its 
health.—Therefore the thoughts and declarations of the 
Peripatetics are soft and effeminate, for they say that the 
mind must necessarily be agitated, but at the same time 
they lay down certain bounds beyond which that agitation 
is not to proceed. And do you set bounds to vice? or is 
it no vice to disobey reason? Does not reason sufficient- 
ly declare that there is no real good which you should de- 
sire too ardently, or the possession of which you should al- © 
low to transport you? and that there is no evil that should 
be able to overwhelm you, or the suspicion of which should 
distract you? and that all these things assume too melan- 
choly or too cheerful an appearance through our own er- 
ror? But if fools find this error lessened by time, so that, 
though the cause remains the same, they are not affected 
in the same manner, after some time, as they were at first, 
why, surely a wise man ought not to be influenced at all 
by it. But what are those degrees by which we are to 
limit it? Let us fix these degrees in grief, a difficult sub- 
ject, and one much canvassed.— Fannius writes that P. 
Rutilius took it much to heart that his brother was refused 
the consulship; but he seems to have been too much af- 
fected by this disappointment, for it was the occasion of 
his death: he ought, therefore, to have borne it with more 
moderation. But let us suppose that while he was bear- 
ing this with moderation, the death of his children had in- 
tervened ; here would have started a fresh grief, which, ad- 
mitting it to be moderate in itself, yet still must have been 
a great addition to the other. Now, to these let us add 
some acute pains of body, the loss of his fortune, blindness, 
banishment. Supposing, then, each separate misfortune to 
occasion a separate additional grief, the whole would be 
too great to be supportable. 

XVIII. The man who attempts to set bounds to vice 
acts like one who should throw himself headlong from 
Leucate, persuaded that he could stop himself whenever 
he pleased. Now, as that is impossible, so a perturbed 
and disordered mind cannot restrain itself, and stop where 
it pleases. Certainly whatever is bad in its increase is 
bad in its birth. Now grief and all other perturbations 


are doubtless baneful in their progress, and have, there- 
fore, no small share of evil at the beginning; for they go 
on of themselves when once they depart from reason, for 
every weakness is self-indulgent, and indiscreetly launches 
out, and does not know where to stop. So that it makes 
no difference whether you approve of moderate perturba- 
tions of mind, or of moderate injustice, moderate coward- 
ice, and moderate intemperance; for whoever prescribes 
bounds to vice admits a part of it, which, as it is odious 
of itself, becomes the more so as it stands on slippery 
ground, and, being once set forward, glides on headlong, 
and cannot by any means be stopped. 

XIX. Why should I say more? Why should I add 
that the Peripatetics say that these perturbations, which 
we insist upon it should be extirpated, are not only natu- 
ral, but were given to men by nature for a good purpose? 
They usually talk in this manner. In the first place, they 
say much in praise of anger; they call it the whetstone 
of courage, and they say that angry men exert themselves 
most against an enemy or against a bad citizen: that those 
reasons are of little weight which are the motives of men 
who think thus, as—it is a just war; it becomes us to fight 
for our laws, our liberties, our country: they will allow no 
force to these arguments unless our courage is warmed by 
anger.—Nor do they confine their argument to warriors ; 
but their opinion is that no one can issue any rigid com- 
mands without some bitterness and anger. In short, they 
have no notion of an orator either accusing or even de- 
fending a client without he is spurred on by anger. And 
though this anger should not be real, still they think his 
words and gestures ought to wear the appearance of it, so 
that the action of the orator may excite the anger of his 
hearer. And they deny that any man has ever been seen 
who does not know what it is to be angry; and they name 
what we call lenity by the bad appellation of indolence. 
Nor do they commend only this lust (for anger is, as I de- 
fined it above, the lust of revenge), but they maintain that 
kind of lust or desire to be given us by nature for very 
good purposes, saying that no one can execute anything 
well but what he is in earnest about. Themistocles used 
to walk in the public places in the night because he could 


not sleep; and when asked the reason, his answer was, that 
Miltiades’s trophies kept him awake. Who has not heard 
how Demosthenes used to watch, who said that it gave 
him pain if any mechanic was up in a morning at his 
work before him? Lastly, they urge that some of the 
greatest philosophers would never have made that prog- 
ress in their studies without some ardent desire spurring 
them on.—We are informed that Pythagoras, Democritus, 
and Plato visited the remotest parts of the world; for 
they thought that they ought to go wherever anything 
was to be learned. Now, it is not conceivable that these 
things could be effected by anything but by the greatest 
ardor of mind. 

XX. They say that even grief, which we have already 
said ought to be avoided as a monstrous and fierce beast, 
was appointed by nature, not without some good purpose, 
in order that men should lament when they had committed 
a fault, well knowing they had exposed themselves to cor- 
rection, rebuke, and ignominy; for they think that those 
who can bear ignominy and infamy without pain have ac- 
quired a ccmplete impunity for all sorts of crimes; for 
with them reproach is a stronger check than conscience. 
l’rom whence we have that scene in Afranius borrowed 
from common life; for when the abandoned son saith, 
“ Wretched that I am!” the severe father replies, 

Let him but grieve, no matter what the cause. 

And they say the other divisions of sorrow have their use; 
that pity incites us to hasten to the assistance of others, 
and to alleviate the calamities of men who have unde- 
servedly fallen into them; that even envy and detraction 
are not without their use,as when a man sees that another 
person has attained what he cannot, or observes. another 
to be equally successful with himself; that he who should 
take away fear would take away all industry in life, which 
those men exert in the greatest degree who are afraid of 
the laws and of the magistrates, who dread poverty, igno- 
miny, death, and pain. But while they argue thus, they 
allow indeed of these feelings being retrenched, though 
they deny that they either can or should be plucked up 
by the roots; so that their opinion is that mediocrity is 


best in everything. When they reason in this manner, what 
think you—is what they say worth attending to or not? 

A. I think it is. I wait, therefore, to hear what you 
will say in reply to them. 

XXI. M. Perhaps I may find something to say; but I 
will make this observation first: do you take notice with 
what modesty the Academics behave themselves? for they 
speak plainly to the purpose. The Peripategygs are an- 
swered by the Stoics; they have my leave to figtt it out, 

-who think myself no otherwise concerned than to inquire 
for what may seem to be most probable. Our present 
business is, then, to see if we can meet with anything in 
this question which is the probable, for beyond such ap- 
proximation to truth as that human nature cannot proceed. 

The definition of a perturbation, as Zeno, I think, has — 

rightly determined it, is thus: That a perturbation ‘is a 
commotion of the mind against nature, in opposition to 
right reason; or, more briefly, thus, that a perturbation is 
a somewhat too vehement appetite; and when he says 
somewhat too vehement, he means such as is at a greater 
distance from the constant course of nature. What can I 
say to these definitions? The greater part of them we 
have from ‘those who dispute with sagacity and acuteness: 
some of them expressions, indeed, such as the “ardors of 
the mind,” and “ the whetstones of virtue,” savoring of the 
pomp of rhetoricians. As to the question, if a brave man 
can maintain his courage without becoming angry, it may 
be questioned with regard to the gladiators; ‘though we 
often observe much resolution even in them: they 1 meet, 
converse, they make objections and demands, they agree 
about terms, so that they seem calm rather ‘than angry. 
But let us admit a man of the name of Placideianus, who 
was one of that trade, to be in 4 ome a mind, as Lucilius 
relates of him, 

If for his blood you thirst, the task be mine; 

His laurels at my feet he shall resign ; 

Not but I know, before I reach his heart, 

First on myself a wound he will impart. 

I hate the man; enraged I fight, and straight 

In action we had been, but that I wait 

Till each his sword had fitted to his hand. 

My rage I scarce can keep within command. 


XXII. But we see Ajax in Homer advancing to meet 
Hector in battle cheerfully, without any of this boister- 
ous wrath. For he had no sooner taken up his arms than 
the first step which he made inspired his associates with 
joy, his enemies with fear; so that even Hector, as he is 
represented by Homer,’ trembling, condemned himself for 
having challenged him to fight. Yetthese heroes conversed 
together, calmly and quietly, before they engaged; nor 
did they:show any anger or outrageous behavior during’ 
the combat. Nor do I imagine that Torquatus, the first| 
who obtained this surname, was in a rage when he plun- 
dered the Gaul of his collar; or that Marcellus’s courage 
at Clastidium was only owing to his anger. I could al- 
most swear that Africanus, with whom we are better ac- 
quainted, from our recollection of him being more recent, 
was noways inflamed by anger when he covered Alienus 
Pelignus with his shield, and drove his sword into the 
memy’s breast. There may be some doubt of L. Brutus, 
witether he was not influenced by extraordinary hatred of 
the tyrant,so as to attack Aruns with more than usual 
rashness; for I observe that they mutually killed each 
other in close fight. Why, then, do you call in the assist- 
ance of anger? Would courage, unless it began to get 

? Cicero alludes here to Il. vii. 211, which is thus translated by Pope: 

His massy javelin quivering in his hand, 

He stood the bulwark of the Grecian band; 
Through every Argive heart new transport ran, 

All Troy s' trembling at the mighty man: 

E’en Hector paused, and with new doubt oppress’d, 
Felt his great heart suspended in his breast ; 

*T was vain to seek retreat, and vain to fear, 
Himself had challenged, and the foe drew near. 

But Melmoth (Note on the Familiar Letters of Cicero, book ii. Let. 23) 
rightly accuses Cicero of having misunderstood Homer, who ‘‘ by no 
means represents Hector as being thus totally dismayed at the approach 
of his adversary; and, indeed, it would have been inconsistent with the 
general character of that hero to have described him under such circum- 
stances of terror.” 

Tov 5€ Kat ’Apyetor péy’ éyneov eicopdevres, 

Tpewas d¢ tpopos ~ivos imndvbe yvia Exactov, 

“Extop: 3 ait Oupos evi atnecor mataccev. 

But there is a great difference, as Dr. Clarke remarks, between 9uyd¢ 
évt orfPeco. mataccev and Kapdin tw ornbéwv Epwoxev, or Tpduoc alvoc 
inhav0e yvia.—The Trojans, says Homer, trembled at the sight of Ajax, 
and even Hector himself felt some emotion in his breast. 


furious, lose its energy? What! do you imagine that 
Hercules, whom the very courage which you would try to 
represent as anger raised to heaven, was angry when he 
engaged the Erymanthian boar, or the Nemzean lion? Or 
was Theseus in a passion when he seized on the horns of 
the Marathonian bull? Take care how you make courage 
to depend in the least on rage. For anger is altogether 
irrational, and that is not courage which is void of reason. 

XXIII. We ought to hold all things here in contempt; 
death is to be looked on with indifference; pains and la- 
bors must be considered as easily supportable. And when 
these sentiments are established on judgment and convic- 
tion, then will that stout and firm courage take place; 
unless you attribute to anger whatever is done with ve- 
hemence, alacrity, and spirit. To me, indeed, that very 
Scipio’ who was chief priest, that favorer of the saying of 
the Stoics, “That no private man could be a wise man,” 
does not seem to be angry with Tiberius Gracchus, even 
when he left the consul in a hesitating frame of mind, and, 
though a private man himself, commanded, with the au- 
thority of a consul, that all who meant well to the repub- 
lic should follow him. Ido not know whether I have done 
anything in the republic that has the appearance of cour- 
age; but if I have, 1 certainly did not do it in wrath. 
Doth anything come nearer madness than anger? And 
indeed Ennius has well defined it as the beginning of mad- 
ness. ‘The changing color, the alteration of our voice, the 
look of our eyes, our manner of fetching our breath, the 
little command we have over our words and actions, how 
little do all these things indicate a sound mind! What 
can make a worse appearance than Homer’s Achilles, or 
Agamemnon, during the quarrel? And as to Ajax, anger 
drove him into downright madness, and was the occasion 
of his death. Courage, therefore, does. not want the as- 
sistance of anger; it is sufficiently provided, armed, and 
prepared of itself. We may as well say that drunkenness 
or madness is of service to courage, because those who 

? Cicero means Scipio Nasica, who, in the riots consequent on the re- 
election of Tiberius Gracchus to the tribunate, 183 B.c., having called 
in vain on the consul, Mucius Sczevola, to save the republic, attacked 
Gracchus himself, who was slain in the tumult. 


are mad or drunk often do a great many things with un- 
usual vehemence. Ajax was always brave; but still he 
was most brave when he was in that state of frenzy: 

The greatest feat that Ajax e’er achieved 

Was, when his single arm the Greeks relieved. 

Quitting the field ; urged on by rising rage, 

Forced the declining troops again t’ engage. 
Shall we say, then, that madness has its use? 

XXIV. Examine the definitions of courage: you will 
find it does not require the assistance of passion. Cour- 
age is, then, an affection of mind that endures all things, 
being itself in proper subjection to the highest of all laws; 
or it may be called a firm maintenance of judgment in 
supporting or repelling everything that has a formidable 
appearance, or a knowledge of what is formidable or oth- 
erwise, and maintaining invariably a stable judgment of 
all such things, so as to bear them or despise them; or, in 
fewer words, according to Chrysippus (for the above defi- 
nitions are Sphzrus’s, a man of the first ability as a layer- 
down of definitions, as the Stoics think. But they are all 
pretty much alike: they give us only common notions, 
some one way, and some another). But what is Chrysip- 
pus’s definition? Fortitude, says he, is the knowledge of 
all things that are bearable, or an affection of the mind 
which bears and supports everything in obedience to the 
chief law of reason without fear. Now, though we should 
attack these men in the same manner as Carneades used 
to do, I fear they are the only real philosophers; for 
which of these definitions is there which does not explain 
that obscure and intricate notion of courage which every 
man conceives within himself? And when it is thus ex- 
plained, what can a warrior, a commander, or an orator 
want more? And no one can think that they will be 
unable to behave themselves courageously without anger. 
What! do not even the Stoics, who maintain that all fools 
are mad, make the same inferences? for, take away per- 
turbations, especially a hastiness of temper, and they will 
appear to talk very absurdly. But what they assert is 
this: they say that all fools are mad, as all dunghills stink ; 
not that they always do so, but stir them, and you will 
perceive it. And in like manner, a warm-tempered man is 


not always in a passion; but provoke him, and you will 
see him run mad. Now, that very warlike anger, which 
is of such service in war, what is the use of it to him 
when he is at home with his wife, children, and family ? 
Is there, then, anything that a disturbed mind can do bet- 
ter than one which is calm and steady? Or can any one 
be angry without a perturbation of mind? Our people, 
then, were in the right, who, as all vices depend on our 
manners, and nothing is worse than a passionate dispo- 
sition, called angry men the only morose men.* 

XXYV. Anger is in no wise becoming in an orator, 
though it is not amiss to affect it. Do you imagine that 
I am angry when in pleading I use any extraordinary ve- 
hemence and sharpness? What! when I write out my 
speeches after all is over and past, am I then angry while 
writing? Or do you think A’sopus was ever angry when 
he acted, or Accius was so when he wrote? Those men, 
indeed, act very well, but the orator acts better than the 
player, provided he be really an orator; but, then, they 
carry it on without passion, and with a composed mind. 
But what wantonness is it to commend lust! You pro- 
duce Themistocles and Demosthenes; to these you add 
Pythagoras, Democritus, and Plato. What! do you then 
call studies lust? But these studies of the most excellent 
and admirable things, such as those were which you bring 
forward on all occasions, ought to be composed and tran- 
quil; and what kind of philosophers are they who com- 
mend grief, than which nothing is more detestable? Afra- 
nius has said much to this purpose: 

Let him but grieve, no matter what the cause. 

But he spoke this of a debauched and dissolute youth. 
But we are inquiring into the conduct of a constant and 
wise man. We may even allow a centurion or standard- 
bearer to be angry, or any others, whom, not to explain 
too far the mysteries of the rhetoricians, I shall not men- 
tion here; for to touch the passions, where reason cannot 
be come at, may have its use; but my inquiry, as I often 
repeat, is about a wise man. 

1 Morosus is evidently derived from mores—** Morosus, mos, stubborn- 
ness, self-will, etc.” —Riddle and Arnold, Lat. Dict. 


XXVI. But even envy, detraction, pity, have their use. 
Why should you pity rather than assist, if it is in your 
power to do so? Is it because you cannot be liberal with- 
out pity? We should not take sorrows on ourselves upon 
another’s account; but we ought to relieve others of their 
grief if we can. But to detract from another’s reputation, 
or to rival him with that vicious emulation which resem- 
bles an enmity, of what use can that conduct be? Now, 
envy implies being uneasy at another’s good because one 
does not enjoy it one’s self; but detraction is the being 
uneasy at another’s good, merely because he enjoys it. 
How can it be right that you should voluntarily grieve, 
rather than take the trouble of acquiring what you want 
to have? for it is madness in the highest degree to desire 
to be the only one that has any particular happiness. But 
who can with correctness speak in praise of a mediocrity 
of evils? Can any one in whom there is lust or desire be 
otherwise than libidinous or desirous? or can a man who 
is occupied by anger avoid being angry? or can one who 
is exposed to any vexation escape being vexed ? or if he is 
under the influence of fear, must he not be fearful? Do 
we look, then, on the libidinous, the angry, the anxious, and 
the timid man, as persons of wisdom, of excellence? of 
which I could speak very copiously and diffusely, but I 
wish to be as concise as possible. And so I will merely 
say that wisdom is an acquaintance with all divine and 
human affairs, and a knowledge of the cause of everything. 
Hence it is that it imitates what is divine, and looks upon 
all human concerns as inferior to virtue. Did you, then, 
say that it was your opinion that such a man was as nat- 
urally liable to perturbation as the sea is exposed to winds ? 
What is there that can discompose such gravity and con- 
stancy? Anything sudden or unforeseen? How can any- 
thing of this kind befall one to whom nothing is sudden 
and unforeseen that can happen to man? Now, as to their 
saying that redundancies should be pared off, and only 
what is natural remain, what, I pray you, can be natural 
which may be too exuberant ? 

XXVII. All these assertions proceed from the roots of 
errors, which must be entirely plucked up and destroyed, 
not pared and amputated. But as I suspect that your in- 


quiry is not so much respecting the wise man as concern- 
ing yourself (for you allow that he is free from all pertur- 
bations, and you would willingly be so too yourself), let us 
see what remedies there are which may be applied by phi- 
losophy to the diseases of the mind. There is certainly 
some remedy; nor has nature been so unkind to the hu- 
man race as to have discovered so many things salutary to 
the body, and none which are medicinal to the mind. She 
has even been kinder to the mind than to the body; inas- 
much as you must seek abroad for the assistance which 
the body requires, while the mind has all that it requires 
within itself. But in proportion as the excellency of the 
mind is of a higher and more divine nature, the more dil- 
igence does it require; and therefore reason, when it is 
well applied, discovers what is best, but when it is neg- 
lected, it becomes involved in many errors. I shall apply, 
then, all my discourse to you; for though you pretend to 
be inquiring about the wise man, your inquiry may, pos- 
sibly be about yourself. Various, then, are the cures of 
those perturbations which I have expounded, for every dis- 
order is not to be appeased the same way. One medicine 
must be applied to the man who mourns, another to the 
pitiful, another to the person who envies; for there is this 
difference to be maintained in all the four perturbations: 
we are to consider whether our discourse had better be 
directed to perturbations in general, which are a contempt 
of reason, or a somewhat too vehement appetite; or wheth- 
er it would be better applied to particular descriptions, as, 
for instance, to fear, lust, and the rest, and whether it ap- 
pears preferable to endeavor to remove that which has oc- 
casioned the grief, or rather to attempt wholly to eradi- 
cate every kind of grief. As, should any one grieve that 
he is poor, the question is, Would you maintain poverty to 
be no evil, or would you contend that a man ought not to 
ieve at anything? Certainly this last is the best course ; 
or should you not convince him with regard to poverty, 
you must allow him to grieve; but if you remove grief by 
particular arguments, such as I used yesterday, the evil of 
poverty is in some manner removed. 
XXVIII. But any perturbation of the mind of this sort 
may be, as it were, wiped away by the method of appeas- 


ing the mind, if you succeed in showing that there is no 
good in that which has given rise to joy and lust, nor any 
evil in that which has occasioned fear or grief. But cer- 
tainly the most effectual cure is to be achieved by show- 
ing that all perturbations are of themselves vicious, and 
have nothing natural or necessary in them. As we see, 
grief itself is easily softened when we charge those who 
grieve with weakness and an effeminate mind; or when 
we commend the gravity and constancy of those who bear 
calmly whatever befalls them here, as accidents to which 
all men are liable; and, indeed, this is generally the feeling 
of those who look on these as real evils, but yet think they 
should be borne with resignation. One imagines pleasure 
to be a good, another money; and yet the one may be 
called off from intemperance, the other from covetousness. 
The other method and address, which, at the same time 
that it removes the false opinion, withdraws the disorder, 
has more subtlety in it; but it seldom succeeds, and is 
not applicable to vulgar minds, for there are some dis- 
eases which that medicine can by no means remove. For, 
should any one be uneasy because he is without virtue, 
without courage, destitute of a sense of duty or honesty, 
his anxiety proceeds from a real evil; and yet we must ap- 
ply another method of cure to him, and such a one as 
all the philosophers, however they may differ about other 
things, agree in. For they must necessarily agree in this, 
that commotions of the mind in opposition to right rea- 
son are vicious; and that even admitting those things to 
be evils which occasion fear or grief, and those to be 
goods which provoke desire or joy, yet that very com- 
motion itself is vicious; for we mean by the expressions 
magnanimous and brave, one who is resolute, sedate, 
grave, and superior to everything in this life; but one 
who either grieves, or fears, or covets, or is transported 
with passion, cannot come under that denomination; for 
these things are consistent only with those who look on 
the things of this world as things with which their minds 
are unequal to contend. 

XXIX. Wherefore, as I before said, the philosophers 
have all one method of cure, so that we need say nothing 

about what sort of thing that is which disturbs the mind, 


‘but we must speak only concerning the perturbation itself. 
Thus, first, with regard to desire itself, when the business 
is only to remove that, the inquiry is not to be, whether 
that thing be good or evil which provokes lust, but the 
lust itself is to be removed; so that whether whatever is 
honest is the chief good, or whether it consists in pleasure, 
or in both these things together, or in the other three 
kinds of goods, yet should there be in any one too vehe- 
ment an appetite for even virtue itself, the whole discourse 
should be directed to the deterring him from that vehe- 
mence. But human nature, when placed in a conspicuous 
point of view, gives us every argument for appeasing the . 
mind, and, to make this the more distinct, the laws and 
conditions of life should be explained in our discourse. 
Therefore, it was not without reason that Socrates is re- 
ported, when Euripides was exhibiting his play called 
Orestes, to have repeated the first three verses of that 
What tragic story men can mournful tell, 

Whate’er from fate or from the gods befell, 
That human nature can support—' 

But, in order to persuade those to whom any misfortune 
has happened that they can and ought to bear it, it is very 
useful to set before them an enumeration of other persons 
who have borne similar calamities. Indeed, the method of 
appeasing grief was explained in my dispute of yester- 
day, and in my book on Consolation, which I wrote in the 
midst of my own grief; for I was not myself so wise a 
man as to be insensible to grief, and I used this, notwith- 
standing Chrysippus’s advice to the contrary, who is 
against applying a medicine to the agitations of the mind 
while they are fresh; but I did it, and committed a vio- 
lence on nature, that the greatness of my grief might give 
way to the greatness of the medicine. 
XXX. But fear borders upon grief, of which I have al- . 
ready said enough; but I must say a little more on that. 
Now, as grief proceeds from what is present, so does fear 

? In the original they run thus: 

OvK éoriv obdév decvdv Od’ eireiv Eros, 
Ovd€ mabos, obdé Evjrgpopa OenrAaTos 
"Hs obk Gv Gpar’ axVos dvOpwrov piers. 


4 . 
from future evil; so that some have said that fear is a 
certain part of grief: others have called fear the harbin- 
ger of trouble, which, as it were, introduces the ensuing 
evil. Now, the reasons that make what is present sup- 
portable, make what is to come very contemptible; for, 
with regard to both, we should take care to do nothing 
low or grovelling, soft or effeminate, mean or abject. But, 
notwithstanding we should speak of the inconstancy, im- 
’ becility, and levity of fear itself, yet it is of very great 
service to speak contemptuously of those very things of 
which we are afraid. So that it fell out very well, wheth- 
er it was by accident or design, that. I disputed the first 
and second day on death and pain—the two things that 
are the most dreaded: now, if what I then said was ap- 
proved of, we are in a great degree freed from fear. And 
this is sufficient, as far as regards the opinion of evils. 
XXXI. Proceed we now to what are goods—that is to 
say, to joy and desire. To me, indeed, one thing alone 
seems to embrace the question of all that relates to the 
perturbations of the mind—the fact, namely, that all per- 
turbations are in our own power; that they are taken up 
upon opinion, and are voluntary. This error, then, must 
be got rid of; this opinion must be removed; and, as with 
regard to imagined evils, we are to make them more sup- 
portable, so with respect to goods, we are to lessen the 
violent effects of those things which are called great and 
joyous. But one thing is to be observed, that equally re- 
lates both to good and evil: that, should it be difficult to 
persuade any one that none of those things which disturb 
the mind are to be looked on as good or evil, yet a differ- 
ent cure is to be applied to different feelings; and the 
malevolent person is to be corrected by one way of reason- 
ing, the lover by another, the anxious man by another, and 
the fearful by another: and it would be easy for any one 
who pursues the best approved method of reasoning, with 
regard to good and evil, to maintain that no fool can be 
affected with joy, as he never can have anything good. 
But, at present, my discourse proceeds upon the common 
received notions. Let, then, honors, riches, pleasures, and 
the rest be the very good things which they are imagined 
to be; yet a too elevated and exulting joy on the posses- 



sion of them is unbecoming; just as, though it might be 
allowable to laugh, to giggle would be indecent. Thus, a 
mind enlarged by joy is as blamable as a contraction of it 
by grief; and eager longing is a sign of as much levity in 
desiring as immoderate joy is in possessing; and, as those 
who are too dejected are said to be effeminate, so they 
who are too elated with joy are properly called volatile; 
and as feeling envy is a part of grief, and the being 
pleased with another’s misfortune is a kind of joy, both 9 
these feelings are usually corrected by showing the wild- 
ness and insensibility of them: and as it becomes a man 
to be cautious, but it is unbecoming in him to be fearful, 
so to be pleased is proper, but to be joyful improper. I 
have, in order that I might be the better understood, dis- 
tinguished pleasure from joy. I have already said above, 
that a contraction of the mind can never be right, but that 
an elation of it may; for the joy of Hector in Nevius is 
one thing— 

’Tis joy indeed to hear my praises sung 
By you, who are the theme of honor’s tongue— 

but that. of the character in Trabea another: ‘‘ The kind 
procuress, allured by my money, will observe my nod, will 
watch my desires, and study my will. If I but move the 
door with my little finger, instantly it flies open; and if 
Chrysis should unexpectedly discover me, she will run 
with joy to meet me, and throw herself into my arms.” 
Now he will tell you how excellent he thinks this: 

Not even fortune herself is so fortunate. 

XXXII. Any one who attends the least to the subject 
will be convinced how unbecoming this joy is. And as 
they are very shameful who are immoderately delighted 
with the enjoyment of venereal pleasures, so are they very 
scandalous who lust vehemently after them. And all that 
which is commonly called love (and, believe me, I can find 
out no other name to call it by) is of such a trivial nature 
that nothing, I think, is to be compared to it: of which 
Ceecilius says, 

I hold the man of every sense bereaved 
Who grants not Love to be of Gods the chief: 


Whose mighty power whate’er is good effects, 
Who gives to each his beauty and defects : 
Hence, health and sickness; wit and folly, hence, 
The God that love and hatred doth dispense! 

An excellent corrector of life this same poetry, which 
thinks that love, the promoter of debauchery and vanity, 
should have a place in the council of the Gods! I am 
speaking of comedy, which could not subsist at all without 
our approving of these debaucheries. But what said that 
chief of the Argonauts in tragedy ? 

My life I owe to honor less than love. 

What, then, are we to say of this love of Medea ?—what a 
train of miseries did it occasion! And yet the same woman 
has the assurance to say to her father, in another poet, that 
she had a husband 

Dearer by love than ever fathers were. 

XXXII. However, we may allow the poets to trifle, in 
whose fables we see Jupiter himself engaged in these de- 
baucheries: but let us apply to the masters of virtue— 
the philosophers who deny love to be anything carnal; 
and in this they differ from Epicurus, who, I think, is not 
much mistaken. For what is that love of friendship? 
How comes it that no one is in love with a deformed 
young man, or a handsome old one? I am of opinion 
that this love of men had its rise from the Gymnastics of 
the Greeks, where these kinds of loves are admissible and 
permitted ; therefore Ennius spoke well: 

The censure of this crime to those is due 
Who naked bodies first exposed to view. 

Now, supposing them chaste, which I think is hardly pos- 
sible, they are uneasy and distressed, and the more so be- 
cause they contain and refrain themselves. But, to pass 
over the love of women, where nature has allowed more 
liberty, who can misunderstand the poets in their rape of 
Ganymede, or not apprehend what Laius says, and what_ 
he desires, in Euripides? Lastly, what have the principal 
poets and the most learned men published of themselves 
in their poems and songs? What doth Aleczus, who was 


distinguished in his own republic for his bravery, write on 
the love of young men? And as for Anacreon’s poetry, it. 
is wholly on love. But Ibycus of Rhegium appears, from 
his writings, to have had this love stronger on him than 
all the rest. 

XXXIV. Now we see that the loves of all these writ- 
ers were entirely libidinous. There have arisen also some 
among us philosophers (and Plato is at the head of them, 
whom Diczarchus blames not without reason) who have 
countenanced love. The Stoics, in truth, say, not only 
that their wise man may be a lover, but they even define 
love itself as an endeavor to originate friendship out of 
the appearance of beauty. Now, provided there is any 
one in the nature of things without desire, without care, 
without a sigh, such a one may be a lover; for he is free 
from all lust: but I have nothing to say to him, as it is 
lust of which I am now speaking. But should there be 
any love—as there certainly is—which is but little, or per- 
haps not at all, short of madness, such as his is in the 

Should there be any God whose care I am— 

it is incumbent on all the Gods to see that he enjoys his 

amorous pleasure. 
Wretch that Iam! 

Nothing is more true, and he says very appropriately, 
What, are you sane, who at this rate lament ? 

He seems even to his friends to be out of his senses: then 
how tragical he becomes ! 

Thy aid, divine Apollo, I implore, 
And thine, dread ruler of the wat’ry store! 
Oh! all ye winds, assist me! 

He thinks that the whole world ought to apply itself to 
help his love: he excludes Venus alone, as unkind to him. 
Thy aid, O Venus, why should I invoke ? 

He thinks Venus too much employed in her own lust to 
have regard to anything else, as if he himself had not said 
and committed these shameful things from lust. 


XXXV. Now, the cure for one who is affected in this 
manner is to show how light, how contemptible, how 
very trifling he is in what he desires; how he may turn 
his affections to another object, or accomplish his desires 
by some other means; or else to persuade him that he 
may entirely disregard it: sometimes he is to be led away 
to objects of another kind, to study, business, or other 
different engagements and concerns: very often the cure 
is effected by change of place, as sick people, that have 
not recovered their strength, are benefited by change of 
air. Some people think an old love may be driven out 
by a new one, as one nail drives out another: but, above 
all things, the man thus afflicted should be advised what 
madness love is: for of all the perturbations of the mind, 
there is not one which is more vehement; for (without 
charging it with rapes, debaucheries, adultery, or even in- 
cest, the baseness of any of these being very blamable; 
not, I say, to mention these) the very perturbation of the 
mind in love is base of itself, for, to pass over all its acts 
of downright madness, what weakness do not those very 
things which are looked upon as indifferent argue? 

Affronts and jealousies, jars, squabbles, wars, 
Then peace again. The man who seeks to fix 
These restless feelings, and to subjugate 
Them to some regular law, is just as wise 

As one who'd try to lay down rules by which 
Men should go mad.? 

Now, is not this inconstancy and mutability of mind 
enough to deter any one by its own deformity? We are 
to demonstrate, as was said of every perturbation, that 
there are no such feelings which do not consist entire- 
ly of opinion and judgment, and are not owing to our- 
selves. For if love were natural, all would’ be in love, 
and always so, and all love the same object; nor would 
one be deterred by shame, another by reflection, another 
by satiety. 

XXXVI. Anger, too, when it disturbs the mind any 
time, leaves no room to doubt its being madness: by the 

? This passage is from the Eunuch of Terence, act i., se. 1, 14. 


instigation of which we see such contention as this be- 
tween brothers : 

Where was there ever impudence like thine? 
Who on thy malice ever could refine ?? 

You know what follows: for abuses are thrown out by 
these brothers with great bitterness in every other verse; 
so that you may easily know them for the sons of Atreus, 
of that Atreus who invented a new punishment for his 
brother : 

I who his cruel heart to gall am bent, 

Some new, unheard-of torment must invent. 

Now, what were these inventions? Hear Thyestes: 

My impious brother fain would have me eat 
My children, and thus serves them up for meat. 

To what length now will not anger go? even as far as 
madness. Therefore we say, properly enough, that angry 
men have given up their power, that is, they are out of 
the power of advice, reason, and understanding; for these 
ought to have power over the whole mind. Now, you 
should put those out of the way whom they endeavor to 
attack till they have recollected themselves; but what does 
recollection here imply but getting together again the dis- 
persed parts of their mind into their proper place? or else 
you must beg and entreat them, if they have the means 
of revenge, to defer it to another opportunity, till their 
anger cools. But the expression of cooling implies, cer- 
tainly, that there was a heat raised in their minds in op- 
position to reason; from which consideration that saying 
of Archytas is commended, who being somewhat provoked 
at his steward, “ How would I have treated you,” said he, 
“if I had not been in a passion ?” 

XXXVII. Where, then, are they who say that anger 
has its use? Can madness be of any use? But still it is 
natural. Can anything be natural that is against reason ? 
or how is it, if anger is natural, that one person is more 
inclined to anger than another ? or that the lust of revenge 
should cease before it has revenged itself? or that any one 

1 These verses are from the Atreus of Accius. 


should repent of what he had done in a passion ? as we see 
that Alexander the king did, who could scarcely keep his 
hands from himself, when he had killed his favorite Cly- 
tus,so great was his compunction. Now who that is ac- 
quainted with these instances can doubt that this motion 
of the mind is altogether in opinion and voluntary? for 
who can doubt that disorders of the mind, such as covet- 
ousness and a desire of glory, arise from a great estima- 
tion of those things by which the mind is disordered ? 
from whence we may understand that every perturbation 
of the mind is founded in opinion. And if boldness—that 
is to say, a firm assurance of mind—is a kind of knowledge 
and serious opinion not hastily taken up, then diffidence 
is a fear of an expected and impending evil; and if hope 
is an expectation of good, fear must, of course, be an ex- 
pectation of evil. Thus fear and other perturbations are 
evils. Therefore, as constancy proceeds from knowledge, 
so does perturbation from error. Now, they who are said 
to be naturally inclined to anger, or to pity, or to envy, or 
to any feeling of this kind, their minds are constitutional- 
ly, as it were, in bad health; yet they are curable, as the 
disposition of Socrates is said to have been; for when Zo- 
pyrus, who professed to know the character of every one 
from his person, had heaped a great many vices on him in 
a public assembly, he was laughed at by others, who could 
perceive no such vices in Socrates; but Socrates kept him 
in countenance by declaring that such vices were natural 
to him, but that he had got the better of them by his rea- 
son. Therefore,as any one who has the appearance of the 
best constitution may yet appear to be naturally rather in- 
clined to some particular disorder, so different minds may 
be more particularly inclined to different diseases, But as 
to those men who are said to be vicious, not by nature, 
but their own fault, their vices proceed from wrong opin- 
ions of good and bad things, so that one is more prone than 
another to different motions and perturbations. But, just 
as it is in the case of the body, an inveterate disease is 
harder to be got rid of than a sudden disorder; and it is 
more easy to cure a fresh tumor in the eyes than to re- 
move a defluxion of any continuance. 

XXXVIII. But as the cause of perturbations is now dis- 


covered, for all of them arise from the judgment or opin- 
ion, or volition, I shall put an end to this discourse. But 
we ought to be assured, since the boundaries of good and 
evil are now discovered, as far as they are discoverable by 
man, that nothing can be desired of philosophy greater or 
more useful than the discussions which we have held these 
four days. For besides instilling a contempt of death, and 
relieving pain so as to enable men to bear it, we have add- 
ed the appeasing of grief, than which there is no greater 
evil to man. For though every perturbation of mind is 
grievous, and differs but little from madness, yet we are 
used to say of others when they are under any perturba- 
tion, as of fear, joy, or desire, that they are agitated and 
disturbed; but of those who give themselves up to grief, 
that they are miserable, afflicted, wretched, unhappy. So 
that it doth not seem to be by accident, but with reason 
proposed by you, that I should discuss grief, and the other 
perturbations separately ; for there lies the spring and head 
of all our miseries; but the cure of grief, and of other dis- 
orders, is one and the same in that they are all voluntary, 
and founded on opinion; we take them on ourselves be- 
cause it seems right so to do. Philosophy undertakes to 
eradicate this error, as the root of all our evils: let us there- 
fore surrender ourselves to be instructed by it, and suffer 
ourselves to be cured; for while these evils: have posses- 
sion of us, we not only cannot be happy, but cannot be 
right in our minds. We must either deny that reason can 
effect anything, while, on the other hand, nothing can be 
done right without reason, or else, since philosophy. de- 
pends on the deductions of reason, we must seek from her, 
if we would be good or happy, every help and assistance 
for living well and happily. 




I. Tuts fifth day, Brutus, shall put an end to our Tus- 
culan Disputations: on which day we discussed your fa- 
vorite subject. For I perceive from that book which you 
wrote for me with the greatest accuracy, as well as from 
your frequent conversation, that you are clearly of this 
opinion, that virtue is of itself sufficient for a happy life: 
and though it may be difficult to prove this, on account 
of the many various strokes of fortune, yet it is a truth 
of such a nature that we should endeavor to facilitate the 
proof of it. For among all the topics of philosophy, there 
is not one of more dignity or importance. For as the first 
philosophers must have had some inducement to neglect 
everything for the search of the best state of life: surely, 
the inducement must have been the hope of living happi- 
ly, which impelled them to devote so much care and pains 
to that study. Now, if virtue was discovered and carried 
to perfection by them, and if virtue is a sufficient securi- 
ty for a happy life, who can avoid thinking the work of 
philosophizing excellently recommended by them, and un- 
dertaken by me? But if virtue, as being subject to such 
various and uncertain accidents, were but the slave of fort- 
une, and were not of sufficient ability to support herself, 
I am afraid that it would seem desirable rather to offer up 
prayers, than to rely on our own confidence in virtue as 
the foundation for our hope of a happy life. And,indeed, 
when I reflect.on those troubles with which I have been 
so severely exercised by fortune, I begin to distrust this 
opinion; and ‘sometimes even to dread the weakness and 
frailty of human nature, for I am afraid lest, when nature 
had given us infirm bodies, and had joined to them incur- 
able diseases and intolerable pains, she perhaps also gave 
us minds participating in these bodily pains, and harassed 


also with troubles and uneasinesses, peculiarly their own. 
But here I correct myself for forming my judgment of 
the power of virtue more from the weakness of others, or 
of myself perhaps, than from virtue itself: for she herself 
(provided there is such a thing as virtue; and your uncle 
Brutus has removed all doubt of it) has everything that 
can befall mankind in subjection to her; and by disre- 
garding such things, she is far removed from being at all 
concerned at human accidents; and, being free from ev- 
ery imperfection, she thinks that nothing which is exter- 
nal to herself can concern her. But we, who increase ey- 
ery approaching evil by our fear, and every present one by 
our grief, choose rather to condemn the nature of things 
than our own errors. 

II. But the amendment of this fault, and of all our other 
vices and offences, is to be sought for in philosophy: and 
as my own inclination and desire led me, from my earliest 
youth upward, to seek her protection, so, under my pres- 
ent misfortunes, I have had recourse to the same port from 
whence I set out, after having been tossed by a violent 
tempest. O Philosophy, thou guide of life! thou discov- 
erer of virtue and expeller of vices! what had not only I 
myself, but the whole life of man, been without you? To 
you it is that we owe the origin of cities; you it was who 
called together the dispersed race of men into social life; 
you united them together, first, by placing them near one 
another, then by marriages, and lastly, by the communica- 
tion of speech and languages. You have been the inven- 
tress of laws; you have been our instructress in morals 
and discipline; to you we fly for refuge; from you we im- 
plore assistance; and as I formerly submitted to you in a 
great degree, so now I surrender up myself entirely to you. 
For one day spent well, and agreeably to your precepts, is 
preferable to an eternity of error. Whose assistance, then, 
can be of more service to me than yours, when you have 
bestowed on us tranquillity of life, and removed the fear 
of death? But Philosophy is so far from being praised 
as much as she has deserved by mankind, that she is whol- 
ly neglected by most men, and actually evil spoken of by 
many. Can any person speak ill of the parent of life, and 
dare to pollute himself thus with parricide, and be so im- 


piously ungrateful as to accuse her whom he ought to rev- 
erence, even were he less able to appreciate the advantages 
which he might derive from her? But this error, I imag- 
ine, and this darkness has spread itself over the minds of 
ignorant men, from their not being able to look so far back, 
and from their not imagining that those men by whom hu- 
man life was first improved were philosophers ; for though 
we see philosophy to have been of long standing, yet the 
name must be acknowledged to be but modern. 

III. But, indeed, who can dispute the antiquity of phi- 
losophy, either in fact or name? For it acquired this ex- 
cellent name from the ancients, by the knowledge of the 
origin and causes of everything, both divine and human. 
Thus those seven Xda, as they were considered and called 
by the Greeks, have always been esteemed and called wise 
men by us; and thus Lycurgus many ages before, in whose 
time, before the building of this city, Homer is said to 
have lived, as well as Ulysses and Nestor in the heroic 
ages, are all handed down to us by tradition as having re- 
ally been what they were called, wise men; nor would it 
have been said that Atlas supported the heavens, or that 
Prometheus was bound to Caucasus, nor would Cepheus, 
with his wife, his son-in-law, and his daughter have been 
enrolled among the constellations, but that their more than 
human knowledge of the heavenly bodies had transferred 
their names into an erroneous fable. From whence all 
who occupied themselves in the contemplation of nature 
were both considered and called wise men; and that name 
of theirs continued to the age of Pythagoras, who is re- 
ported to have gone to Phlius, as we find it stated by Her- 
aclides Ponticus, a very learned man, and a pupil of Plato, 
and to have discoursed very learnedly and copiously on 
certain subjects with Leon, prince of the Phliasii; and 
when Leon, admiring his ingenuity and eloquence; asked 
him what art he particularly professed, his answer was, 
that he was acquainted with no art, but that he was a 
philosopher. Leon, surprised at the novelty of the name, 
inquired what he meant by the name of philosopher, and 
in what philosophers differed from other men; on which 
Pythagoras replied, “That the life of man seemed to him 
to resemble those games which were celebrated with the 


greatest possible variety of sports and the general con- 
course of all Greece. For as in those games there were 
some persons whose object was glory and the honor of 
a crown, to be attained by the performance of bodily ex- 
ercises, so others were led thither by the gain of buying 
and selling, and mere views of profit; but there was like- 
wise one class of persons, and they were by far the best, 
whose aim was neither applause nor profit, but who came 
merely as spectators through curiosity, to observe what 
was done, and to see in what manner things were carried 
on there. And thus, said he, we come from another life 
and nature unto this one, just as men come out of some 
other city, to some much frequented mart; some being 
slaves to glory, others to money; and there are some few 
who, taking no account of anything else, earnestly look 
into the nature of things; and these men call themselves 
studious of wisddm, that is, philosophers: and as there it 
is the most reputable occupation of all to be a looker-on 
without making any acquisition, so in life, the contemplat- 
ing things, and acquainting one’s self with them, greatly 
exceeds every other pursuit of life.” 

IV. Nor was Pythagoras the inventor only of the name, 
but he enlarged also the thing itself, and, when he came 
into Italy after this conversation at Phlius, he adorned that 
Greece, which is called Great Greece, both privately and 
publicly, with the most excellent institutions and arts; but 
of his school and system I shall, perhaps, find another op- 
portunity to speak. But numbers and motions, and the be- 
ginning and end of all things, were the subjects ef the an- 
cient philosophy down to Socrates, who was a pupil of Ar- 
chelaus, who had been the disciple of Anaxagoras. These 
made diligent inquiry into the magnitude of the stars, their 
distances, courses, and all that relates to the heavens. But 
Socrates was the first who brought down philosophy from 
the heavens, placed it in cities, introduced it into families, 
and obliged it to examine into life and morals, and good 
and evil. And his different methods of discussing ques- 
tions, together with the variety of his topics, and the great- 
ness of his abilities, being immortalized by the memory and 
writings of Plato, gave rise to many sects of philosophers 
of different sentiments, of all which I have principaliy ad- 


hered to that one which, in my opinion, Socrates himself 
followed ; and argue so as to conceal my own opinion, while 
I deliver others from their errors, and so discover what has 
the greatest appearance of probability in every question. 
And the custom Carneades adopted with great copiousness 
and acuteness, and I myself have often given in to it on 
many occasions elsewhere, and in this manner, too, I dis- 

uted lately, in my Tusculan villa; indeed,I have sent you 
a book of the four former days’ discussions; but the fifth 
day, when we had seated ourselves as before, what we were 
to dispute on was proposed thus: 

V. A. I do not think virtue can possibly be sufficient 
for a happy life. 

M. But my friend Brutus thinks so, whose judgment, 
with submission, I greatly prefer to. yours. 

A. I make no doubt of it; but your regard for him is 
not the business now: the question is now, what is the real 
character of that quality of which I have declared my opin- 
ion. I wish you to dispute on that. 

M. What! do you deny that virtue can possibly be suf- 
ficient for a happy life? 

A. It is what I entirely deny. 

M. What! is not virtue sufficient to enable us to live 
as we ought, honestly, commendably, or, in fine, to live 

A. Certainly sufficient. 

M. Can you, then, help calling any one miserable who 
lives ill? or will you deny that any one who you allow lives 
well must inevitably live happily ? 

A. Why may I not? for a man may be upright in his 
life, honest, praiseworthy, even in the midst of torments, 
and therefore live well. Provided you understand what I 
mean by well; for when I say well, I mean with constan- 
cy, and dignity, and wisdom, and courage; for a man may 
display all these qualities on the rack; but yet the rack is 
inconsistent with a happy life. 

M. What, then? is your happy life left on the outside 
of the prison, while constancy, dignity, wisdom, and the 
other virtues, are surrendered up to the executioner, and 
bear punishment and pain without reluctance? 

A. You must look out for something new if you would 


do any good. These things have very little effect on me, 
not merely from their being common, but principally be- 
cause, like certain light wines that will not bear water, 
these arguments of the Stoics are pleasanter to taste than 
to swallow. As when that assemblage of virtues is com- 
mitted to the rack, it raises so reverend a spectacle before 
our eyes that happiness seems to hasten on towards them, 
and not to suffer them to be deserted by her.. But when 
you take your attention off from this picture and these 
images of the virtues to the truth and the reality, what 
remains without disguise is, the question whether any one 
can be happy in torment? Wherefore let us now examine 
that point, and not be under any apprehensions, lest the 
virtues should expostulate, and complain that they are for- 
saken by happiness. For if prudence is connected with 
every virtue, then prudence itself discovers this, that all 
good men are not therefore happy ; and she recollects many 
things of Marcus Atilius,’ Quintus Czepio,’ Marcus Aquil- 
ius;* and prudence herself, if these representations are 
more agreeable to you than the things themselves, restrains 
happiness when it is endeavoring to throw itself into tor- 
ments, and denies that it has any connection with pain and 
torture. ; 

VI. MI can easily bear with your behaving in this 
manner, though it is not fair in you to prescribe to me 
how you would have me carry on this discussion. But I 
ask you if I have effected anything or nothing in the pre- 
ceding days? 

A. Yes; something was done, some little matter indeed. 

MM. But if that is the case, this question is settled, and 
almost put an end to. 

A. How so? 

M. Because turbulent motions and violent agitations of 

1 This was Marcus Atilius Regulus, the story of whose treatment by 
the Carthaginians in the first Punic War is well known to everybody. 

? This was Quintus Servilius Cepio, who, 105 B.c., was destroyed, 
with his army, by the Cimbri, it was believed as a judgment for the cov- 
etousness which he had displayed in the plunder of Tolosa. 

* 'This was Marcus Aquilius, who, in the year 88 B.c., was sent against 
Mithridates as one of the consular legates; and, being defeated, was de- 
livered up to the king by the inhabitants of Mitylene. Mithridates put 
him to death by pouring molten gold down his throat. 


the mind, when it is raised and elated by a rash impulse, 
getting the better of reason, leave no room for a happy 
life. For who that fears either pain or death, the one of 
which is always present, the other always impending, can 
be otherwise than miserable? Now, supposing the same 
person — which is often the case —to be afraid of pover- 
ty, ignominy, infamy, or weakness, or blindness, or, lastly, 
slavery, which doth not only befall individual men, but 
often even the most powerful nations; now can any one 
under the apprehension of these evils be happy? What 
shall we say of him who not only dreads these evils as 
impending, but actually feels and bears them at present? 
Let us unite in the same person banishment, mourning, 
the loss of children; now, how can any one who is broken 
down and rendered sick in body and mind by such af- 
fliction be otherwise than very miserable indeed? What 
reason, again, can there be why a man should not rightly 
enough be called miserable whom we see inflamed and 
raging with lust, coveting everything with an insatiable ~ 
desire, and, in proportion as he derives more pleasure from 
anything, thirsting the more violently after them? And as 
to a mar vainly elated, exulting with an empty joy, and 
boasting of himself without reason, is not he so much the 
more miserable in proportion as he thinks himself happier ? 
Therefore, as these men are miserable, so, on the other 
hand, those are happy who are alarmed by no fears, wasted 
by no griefs, provoked by no lusts, melted by no languid 
pleasures that arise from vain and exulting joys. We 
look on the sea as calm when not the least breath of air 
disturbs its waves; and, in like manner, the placid and 
quiet state of the mind is discovered when unmoved by 
any perturbation. Now, if there be any one who holds 
the power of fortune, and everything human, everything 
that can possibly befall any man, as supportable, to 
be out of the reach of fear or anxiety, and if such a man 
covets nothing, and is lifted up by no vain joy of mind, 
what can prevent his being happy? And if these are 
the effects of virtue, why cannot virtue itself make men 

_ VII. A. But the other of these two propositions is unde- 
niable, that they who are under no apprehensions, who are 


noways uneasy, who covet nothing, who are lifted up by 

no vain joy, are happy: and therefore I grant you that. 

But as for the other, that is not now in a fit state for dis- 

cussion; for it has been proved by your former arguments 

that a wise man is free from every perturbation of mind. 
M. Doubtless, then, the dispute is over; for the question 
appears to have been entirely exhausted. 

_ A, I think, indeed, that that is almost the. case. 

MM. But yet that is more usually the case with the mathe- 
maticians than philosophers. For when the geometricians 
teach anything, if what they have before taught relates to 
their present. subject, they take that for granted. which has 
been already proved, and explain only what they had not 
written on before. But the philosophers, whatever subject 
they have in hand, get together everything that. relates 
to it, notwithstanding they may. have dilated on it some- 
where. else... Were not that the case, why should the 
Stoics say so much on that question, Whether virtue was 
abundantly sufficient to a happy life? when it would have 
been answer enough that they had before taught that 
nothing was good but what was honorable; for, as this 
had been proved, the consequence must be that virtue was 
sufficient to a happy life; and each premise may be made 
to follow from the admission of the other, so that if it be 
admitted that virtue is sufficient to secure a happy life, it 
may. also be inferred that nothing is good except what is 
bonorable.. They, however, do not proceed in this manner; 
for they would separate books about what. is honorable, 
and what is the chief good;.and when they have demon- 
strated from the one that virtue has power enough to 
make life happy, yet they treat this point separately ; for 
everything, and especially a subject of such great conse- 
quence, should be supported by arguments and. exhorta- 
tions which belong to that. alone. For. you should have 
a care how you imagine philosophy. to. have uttered: any- 
thing more noble, or that she has promised anything more 
fruitful or of greater consequénce, for, good Gods! doth 
she not engage that she will render him who submits to 
her laws so accomplished as to be always armed against 
fortune, and to have. eyery. assurance within himself of 
living well and happily—that he shall, in short, be forever 


happy? But let us see what she will perform? In the 
mean while, I look upon it as a great thing that she has 
even made such a promise. For Xerxes, who was loaded 
with all the rewards and gifts of fortune, not satisfied with 
his armies of horse and foot, nor the multitude of his 
ships, nor his infinite treasure of gold, offered a reward to 
any one who could find out a new pleasure; and yet, when 
it was discovered, he was not satisfied with it; nor can 
there ever be an end to lust. I wish we could engage 
any one by a reward to produce something the better to 
establish us in this belief. 

VIII. A. I wish that, indeed, myself; but I want a lit- 
tle information. For I allow that in what you have stated 
the one proposition is the consequence of the other; that 
as, if what is honorable be the only good, it must follow 
that a happy life is the effect of virtue: so that if a hap- 
py life consists in virtue, nothing can be good but virtue. 
But your friend Brutus, on the authority of Aristo and 
Antiochus, does not see this; for he thinks the case would 
be the same even if there were anything good besides 

M. What, then? do you imagine that I am going to 
argue against. Brutus ? 

A. You may do what you please; for it is not for me 
to prescribe what you shall do. 

M. How these things agree together shall be examined 
somewhere else; for I frequently discussed that point 
with Antiochus, and lately with Aristo, when, during the 
period of my command as general, I was lodging with 
him at Athens. For to me it seemed that no one could 
possibly be happy under any evil; but a wise man might 
be afflicted with evil, if there are any things arising from 
body or fortune deserving the name of evils. These things 
were said, which Antiochus has inserted in his books in 
many places—that virtue itself was sufficient to make life 
happy, but yet not perfectly happy; and that many things 
derive their names from the predominant portion of them, 
though they do not include everything, as strength, health, 
riches, honor, and glory: which qualities are determined 
by their kind, not their number. Thus a happy life is so 
called from its being so in.a great degree, even though it 


should fall short in some point. To clear this up is not 
absolutely necessary at present, though it seems to be 
said without any great consistency; for I cannot imagine 
what is wanting to one that is happy to make him happier, 
for if anything be wanting to him, he cannot be so much as 
happy; and as to what they say, that everything is named 
and estimated from its predominant portion, that may be 
admitted in some things. But when they allow three 
kinds of evils—when any one is oppressed with every im- 
aginable evil of two kinds, being afflicted with adverse 
fortune, and having at the same time his body worn out 
and harassed with all sorts of pains—shall we say that 
such a one is but little short of a happy life, to say noth- 
ing about the happiest possible life ? 

IX. This is the point which Theophrastus was unable 
to maintain; for after he had once laid down the position 
that stripes, torments, tortures, the ruin of one’s country, 
banishment, the loss of children, had great influence on 
men’s living miserably and unhappily, he durst not any 
longer use any high and lofty expressions when he was so 
low and abject in his opinion. How right he was is not 
the question; he certainly was consistent. Therefore, I 
am not for objecting to consequences where the premises 
are admitted. But this most elegant and learned of all 
the philosophers is not taken to task very severely when 
he asserts his three kinds of good; but he is attacked by 
every one for that book which he wrote on a happy life, 
in which book he has many arguments why one who is 
tortured and racked cannot be happy. For in that book 
he is supposed to say that a man who is placed on the 
wheel (that is a kind of torture in use among the Greeks) 
cannot attain to a completely happy life. He nowhere, in- 
deed, says so absolutely; but what he says amounts to the 
same thing. Can I, then, find fault with him, after having 
allowed that pains of the body are evils, that the ruin of a 
man’s fortunes is an evil, if he should say that every good 
man is not happy, when all those things which he reckons 
as evils may befall a good man? The same Theophrastus is 
found. fault with by all the books and schools of the philos- 
ophers for commending that sentence in his Callisthenes, 

Fortune, not wisdom, rules the life of man. 


They say never did philosopher assert anything so lan- 
guid. They are right, indeed, in that; but I do not ap- 
prehend anything could be more consistent, for if there 
are so many good things that depend on the body, and 
so many foreign to it that depend on chance and fortune, 
is it inconsistent to say that fortune, which governs every- 
thing, both what is foreign and what belongs to the body, 
has greater power than counsel. Or would we rather im- 
itate Epicurus? who is often excellent in many things 
which he speaks, but quite indifferent how consistent he 
may be, or how much to the purpose he is speaking. He 
commends spare diet, and in that he speaks as a philoso- 
pher; but it is for Socrates or Antisthenes to say so, and 
not for one who confines all good to pleasure. He denies 
that any one can live pleasantly unless he lives honestly, 
wisely, and justly. Nothing is more dignified than this 
assertion, nothing more becoming a philosopher, had he 
not measured this very expression of living honestly, just- 
ly, and wisely by pleasure. What could be better than 
to assert that fortune interferes but little with a wise 
man? But does he talk thus, who, after he has said that 
‘pain is the greatest evil, or the only evil, might himself 
be afflicted with the sharpest pains all over his body, even 
at the time he is vaunting himself the most against fort- 
une? And this very thing, too, Metrodorus has said, but 
in better language: “I have anticipated you, Fortune; I 
have caught you, and cut off every access, so that you 
cannot possibly reach me.” This would be excellent in 
the mouth of Aristo the Chian, or Zeno the Stoic, who 
held nothing to be an evil but what was base; but for 
you, Metrodorus, to anticipate the approaches of fortune, 
who confine all that is good to your bowels and mar- 
row—for you to say so, who define the chief good by a 
strong constitution of body, and well-assured hope. of its 
continuance—for you to cut off every access of fortune! 
Why, you may instantly be deprived of that good. Yet 
the simple are taken with these propositions, and a vast 
crowd is led away by such sentences to become their fol- 

X. But it is the duty of one who would argue accu- 
rately to consider not what is said, but what is said con- 


sistently. As in that very opinion which we have adopted 
in this discussion, namely, that every good man is always 
happy, it is clear what I mean by good men: I call those 
both wise and good men who are provided and adorned 
with every virtue. Let us sce, then, who are to be called 
happy. I imagine, indeed, that those men are to be eall- 
ed so who are possessed of good without any alloy of 
evil; nor is there any other notion connected with the 
word that expresses happiness but an absolute enjoyment 
of good without any evil. Virtue cannot attain this, if 
there is anything good besides itself. For a crowd of 
evils would present themselves, if we were to allow pov- 
erty, obscurity, humility, solitude, the loss of friends, 
acute pains of the body, the loss of health, weakness, 
blindness, the ruin of one’s country, banishment, slavery, 
to be evils; for a wise man may be afllicted by all these 
evils, numerous and important as they are, and many 
others also may be added, for they are brought on by 
chance, which may attack a wise man; but if these things 
are evils, who can maintain that a wise man is always 
happy when all these evils may light on him at the same 
time? I therefore do not easily agree with my friend 
Brutus, nor with our common masters, nor those ancient 
ones, Aristotle, Speusippus, Xenocrates, Polemon, who 
reckon all that I have mentioned above as evils, and yet 
they say that a wise man is always happy; nor can I al- 
low them, because they are charmed with this beautiful 
and illustrious title, which would very well become Py- 
thagoras, Socrates, and’ Plato, to persuade my mind. that 
strength, health, beauty, riches, honors, power, with the 
beauty of which they are ravished, are contemptible, and 
that all those things which are the opposites of these are 
not to be regarded.. Then might they declare openly, 
with a loud voice; that neither the attacks of fortune, nor 
the opinion of the multitude, nor pain, nor poverty, occa- 
sions them any apprehensions; and that they have every- 
thing within themselves, and that there is nothing what- 
ever which they consider as good but what is within their 
own power. Nor can I by any means allow the same per- 
son who falls into the vulgar opinion of good and evil 
to make use of these expressions, which can only become 


‘a great and exalted man. Struck with which glory, up 
starts Epicurus, who, with submission to the Gods, thinks 
a wise man always happy. He is much charmed with the 
dignity of this opinion, but he never would have owned 
that, had he attended to himself; for what is there more 
inconsistent than for one who could say that pain was 
the greatest or the only evil to think also that a wise man 
can possibly say in the midst of his torture, How sweet 
is this! We are not, therefore, to form our judgment 
of philosophers from detached sentences, but from their 
consistency with themselves, and their ordinary manner of 

XI. A. You compel me to be of your opinion; but have 
a care that you are not inconsistent yourself. 

M. In what respect ? 

A, Because I have lately read your fourth book on 
Good and Evil: and in that you appeared to me, while 
disputing against Cato, to be endeavoring to show, which 
‘in my opinion means to prove, that Zeno and the Peripa- 
tetics differ only about some new words; but if we allow 
that, what reason can there be, if it follows from the argu- 
ments of Zeno that virtue contains all that is necessary to 
a happy life, that the Peripatetics should not be at liberty 
to say the same? For, in my opinion, regard should be 
had to the thing, not to words. 

M. What! you would convict me from my own words, 
and bring against me what I had said or written else- 
where. You may act in that manner with those who dis- 
pute by established rules. We live from hand to mouth, 
and say anything that strikes our mind with probability, 
so that we are the only people who are really at liberty. 
But, since I just now spoke of consistency, I do not think 
the inquiry in this place is, if the opinion of Zeno and his 
pupil Aristo be true that nothing is good but what is hon- 
orable; but, admitting that, then, whether the whole of a 
happy life can be rested on virtue alone. Wherefore, if 
we certainly grant Brutus this, that a wise man is always 
happy, how consistent he is, is his own business; for who, 
indeed, is more worthy than himself of the glory of that 
opinion? Still, we may maintain that such a man is more 
happy than any one else. 


XII. Though Zeno the Cittizean, a stranger and an incon. 
siderable coiner of words, appears to have insinuated him- 
‘self into the old philosophy; still, the prevalence of this 
opinion is due to the authority of Plato, who often makes 
use of this expression, “ That nothing but virtue can be 
entitled to the name of good,” agreeably to what Socrates 
says in Plato’s Gorgias; for it is there related that when 
some one asked him if he did not think Archelaus the son 
of Perdiccas, who was then looked upon as a most fortu- 
nate person, a very happy man, “I do not know,” replied 
he, “for I never conversed with him.” “What! is there 
no other way you can know it by?” “None at all.” 
“You cannot, then, pronounce of the great king of the 
Persians whether he is happy or not?” “How can I, 
when I do not know how learned or how good a man he 
is?” “What! do you imagine that a happy life depends 
on that?” “My opinion entirely is, that good men are 
happy, and the wicked miserable.” “Is Archelaus, then, 
miserable?” ‘Certainly, if unjust.” Now, does it not 
appear to you that he is here placing the whole of a hap- 
py life in virtue alone? But what does the same man say 
in his funeral oration? “For,” saith he, “ whoever has 
everything that relates to a happy life so entirely depend- 
ent on himself as not to be connected with the good or 
bad fortune of another, and not to be affected by, or made 
in any degree uncertain by, what befalls another; and 
whoever is such a one has acquired the best rule of living; 
he is that moderate, that brave, that wise man, who sub- 
mits to the gain and loss of everything, and especially of 
his children, and obeys that old precept; for he will never 
be too joyful or too sad, because he depends entirely upon 

XIII. From Plato, therefore, all my discourse shall be 
deduced, as if from some sacred and hallowed fountain. 
Whence can I, then, more properly begin than from Nat- 
ure, the parent of all? For whatsoever she produces (I 
am not speaking only of animals, but even of those things 
which have sprung from the earth in such a manner as to 
rest on their own roots) she designed it to be perfect in 
its respective kind. So that among trees and vines, and 
those lower plants and trees which cannot advance them- 


selves high above the earth, some are evergreen, others 
are stripped of their leaves in winter, and, warmed by the 
spring season, put them out afresh, and there are none of 
them but what are so quickened by a certain interior mo- 
tion, and their own seeds enclosed in every one, so as to 
yield flowers, fruit, or berries, that all may have every per- 
fection that belongs to it; provided no violence prevents 
it. But the force of Nature itself may be more easily dis- 
covered in animals, as she has bestowed sense on them. 
For someganimals she has taught to swim, and designed 
to be inhabitants of the water; others she has enabled to 
fly, and has willed that they should enjoy the boundless 
air; some others she has made to creep, others to walk. 
Again, of these very animals, some are solitary, some gre- 
garious, some wild, others tame, some hidden and buried 
beneath the earth, and every one of these maintains the law 
of nature, confining itself to what was bestowed on it, and 
unable to change its manner of life. And as every ani- 
mal has from nature something that distinguishes it, which 
every one maintains and never quits; so man has some- 
thing far more excellent, though everything is said to be 
excellent by comparison. But the human mind, being de- 
rived from the divine reason, can be compared with noth- 
ing but with the Deity itself, if I may be allowed the ex- 
pression. This, then, if it is improved, and when its per- 
‘ception is so preserved as not to be blinded by errors, be- 
comés a perfect understanding, that is to say, absolute rea- 
son, which is the very same as virtue. And if everything 
is happy which wants nothing, and is complete and perfect 
in its kind, and that is the peculiar lot of virtue, certainly 
all who are possessed of virtue are happy. And in this 
- I agree with Brutus, and also with Aristotle, Xenocrates, 
Speusippus, Polemon. 

XIV. To me such are-the only men who appeat com- 
pletely happy; for what can he want to a complete happy 
life who relies on his own good qualities, or how can he be 
happy who does not rely on them? But he who makes a 
threefold division of goods must necessarily be diffident, 
for how can he depend on having a sound body, or that 
his fortune shall continue? But no one can be happy with- 
out an immovable, fixed, and permanent good. What, 



then, is this opinion of theirs? So that I think that say- 
ing of the Spartan may be applied to them, who, on some 
merchant’s boasting before him that he had despatched 
ships to every maritime coast, replied that a fortune which 
depended on ropes was not very desirable. Can there be 
any doubt that whatever may be lost cannot be properly 
classed in the number of those things which complete a 
happy life? for of all that constitutes a happy life, noth- 
ing will admit of withering, or growing old, or wearing 
out, or decaying; for whoever is apprehensivegf any loss 
of these things cannot be happy: the happy man should 
be safe, well fenced, well fortified, out of the reach of all 
annoyance, not like a man under trifling apprehensions, 
but free from all such. As he is not called innocent who 
but slightly offends, but he who offends not at all, so it is 
he alone who is to be considered without fear who is free 
from all fear, not he who is but in little fear. For what 
else is courage but an affection of mind that is ready to 
undergo perils, and patient in the endurance of pain and 
labor without any alloy of fear? Now, this certainly could 
not be the case if there were anything else good but what 
depended on honesty alone. But how can any one be in 
possession of that desirable and much-coveted security (for 
I now call a freedom from anxiety a security, on which 
freedom a happy life depends) who has, or may have, a 
multitude of evils attending him? How can he be brave 
and undaunted, and hold everything as trifles which can 
befalla man? for so a wise man should do, unless he be one 
who thinks that everything depends on himself. Could 
the Lacedzmonians without this, when Philip threatened 
to prevent all their attempts, have asked him if he could 
prevent their killing themselves? Is it not easier, then, 
to find one man of'such a spirit as we are inquiring after, 
than to meet with a whole city of such men? Now, if to 
this courage I am speaking of we add temperance, that it 
may govern all our feelings and agitations, what can be 
wanting to complete his happiness who is secured by his 
courage from uneasiness and fear, and is prevented from 
immoderate desires and immoderate insolence of joy by 
temperance? I could easily show that virtue is able to 


produce these effects, but that I have explained on the 
foregoing days. 

XV. But as the perturbations of the mind make life 
miserable, and tranquillity renders it happy; and as these 
perturbations are of two sorts, grief and fear, proceeding 
from imagined evils, and as immoderate joy and lust arise 
from a mistake about what is good, and as all these feel- 
ings are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you 
see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such 
troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance 
with one another, can you hesitate to pronounce such a 
one a happy man? Now, the wise man is always in such 
a disposition; therefore the wise man is always happy. 
Besides, every good is pleasant ; whatever is pleasant may. 
be boasted and talked of ; whatever may be boasted of is 
glorious; but whatever is glorious is certainly laudable, 
and whatever is laudable doubtless, also, honorable: what- 
ever, then, is good is honorable (but the things which 
they reckon as goods they themselves do not call honor- 
able}; therefore what is honorable alone is good. Hence 
it follows that a happy life is comprised in honesty alone. 
Such things, then, are not to be called or considered goods, 
when a man may enjoy an abundance of them, and yet be 
most miserable. Is there any doubt but that a man who 
enjoys the best health, and who has strength and beauty, 
and his senses flourishing in their utmost quickness and 
perfection—suppose him likewise, if you please, nimble and 
active, nay, give him riches, honors, authority, power, glo- 
ry—now, I say, should this person, who is in possession of 
all these, be unjust, intemperate, timid, stupid, or an idiot 
—could you hesitate to call such a one miserable?’ What, 
then, are those goods in the possession of which you may 
be very miserable? Let us see if a happy life is not made 
up of parts of the same nature, as a heap implies a quan- 
tity of grain of the same kind. And if this be once ad- 
mitted, happiness must be compounded of different good 
things, which alone are-honorable; if there is any mixture 
of things of another sort with these, nothing honorable can 
proceed from such a composition: now, take away hones- 
ty, and how can you imagine anything happy? For what- 
ever is good is desirable on that account; whatever is de- 


sirable must certainly be approved of; whatever you ap- 
prove of must be looked on as acceptable and welcome. 
You must consequently impute dignity to this; and if so, 
it must necessarily be laudable: therefore, everything that 
is laudable is good. Hence it follows that what is honor- 
able is the only good. And should we not look upon it 
in this light, there will be a great many things which we 
must call good. 

XVI. I forbear to mention riches, which, as any one, let 
him be ever so unworthy, may have them, I do not reckon 
among goods; for what is good is not attainable by all. I 
pass over notoriety and popular fame, raised by the united 
voice of knaves and fools. Even things which are abso- 
lute nothings may be called goods; such as white teeth, 
handsome eyes, a good complexion, and what was com- 
mended by Euryclea, when she was washing Ulysses’s feet, 
the softness of his skin and the mildness of his discourse. 
If you look on these as goods, what greater encomiums can 
the gravity of a philosopher be entitled to than the wild 
opinion of the vulgar and the thoughtless crowd? The 
Stoics give the name of excellent and choice to what the 
others call good: they call them so, indeed; but they do 
not allow them to complete a happy life. But these oth- 
ers think that there is no life happy without them; or, ad- 
mitting it to be happy, they deny it to be the most happy. 
But our opinion is, that it is the most happy; and we prove 
it from that conclusion of Socrates. For thus that author 
of philosophy argued: that as the disposition of a man’s 
mind is, so is the man; such as the man is, such will be 
his discourse; his actions will correspond with his dis- 
course, and his life with his actions. But the disposition 
of a good man’s mind is laudable; the life, therefore, of a 
good man is laudable; it is honorable, therefore, because 
laudable; the unavoidable conclusion from which is that 
the life of good men is happy. For, good Gods! did I 
not make it appear, by my former arguments—or was I 
only amusing myself and killing time in what I then said ? 
—that the mind of a wise man was always free from every 
hasty motion which I call a perturbation, and that the most 
undisturbed peace always reigned in his breast? A man, 
then, who is temperate and consistent, free from fear or 


grief, and uninfluenced by any immoderate joy or desire, 
cannot be otherwise than happy; but a wise man is always 
so, therefore he is always happy. Moreover, how can a 
good man avoid referring all his actions and all his feel- 
ings to the one standard of whether or not it is laudable ? 
But he does refer everything to the object of living hap- 
pily: it follows, then, that a happy life is laudable; but 
nothing is laudable without virtue: a happy life, then, is 
the consequence of virtue. And this is the unavoidable 
conclusion to be drawn from these arguments. 

XVII. A wicked life has nothing which we ought to 
speak of or glory in; nor has that life which is neither 
happy nor miserable. But there is a kind of life that ad- 
mits of being spoken of, and gloried in, and boasted of, as 
Epaminondas saith, 

The wings ot Sparta’s pride my counsels clipp’d. 
And Africanus boasts, 

Who, from beyond Meotis to the place 
Where the sun rises, deeds like mine can trace? 

If, then, there is such a thing as a happy life, it is to be 
gloried in, spoken of, and commended by the person who 
enjoys it; for there is nothing excepting that which can 
be spoken of or gloried in; and when that is once admit- 
ted, you know what follows. Now, unless an honorable 
life is a happy life, there must, of course, be something 
preferable to a happy life; for that which is honorable all 
men will certainly grant to be preferable to anything else. 
And thus there will be something better than a happy life: 
but what can be more absurd than such an assertion ? 
What! when they grant vice to be effectual to the render- 
ing life miserable, must they not admit that there is a cor- 
responding power in virtue to make ljfe happy ? ° For con- 
traries follow from contraries. And here I ask what 
weight they think there is in the balance of Critolaus, who 
having put the goods of the mind into one scale, and the 
goods of the body and other external advantages into the 
other, thought the goods of the mind outweighed the oth- 
ers so far that they would require the whole earth and sea 
to equalize the scale, 


_ XVIII. What hinders Critolaus, then, or that gravest 
of philosophers, Xenocrates (who raises virtue so high, and 
who lessens and depreciates everything else), from: not 
only placing a happy life, but the happiest possible life, 
in virtue? And, indeed, if this were not the case, virtue 
would be absolutely lost. For whoever is subject to grief 
must necessarily be subject to fear too,for fear is an un- 
easy apprehension of future grief ; and whoever is subject 
to fear is liable to dread, timidity, consternation, coward- 
ice. Therefore, such a person may, some time or other, be 
defeated, and not think himself concerned with that pr e- 
cept of Atreus, 

And let men so conduct themselves in life, 
As to be always strangers to defeat. 

But such a man, as I have said, will be defeated; and not 
only defeated, but made a slave of, But we would have 
virtue always free, always invincible; and were it not so, 
there would be an end of virtue. But if virtue has in her- 
self all that is necessary for a good life, she is certainly 
sufficient for happiness: virtue is certainly sufficient, too, 
for our living with courage; if with courage, then with a 
magnanimous spirit, and indeed so as never to be under 
any fear, and thus to be always invincible. Hence it fol- 
lows that there can be nothing to be repented of, no‘wants, 
no lets or hinderances. Thus all things will be prosper- 
ous, perfect, and as you would have them, and, consequent- 
ly, happy; but virtue is sufficient for living with courage, 
and therefore virtue is able by herself to make life happy. 
For as folly, even when possessed of what it desires, never 
thinks it has acquired enough, so wisdom is always satisfied 
with the present, and never repents on her own account. 

XIX. Look but on the single consulship of Leelius, and 
that, too, after having been set aside (though when a wise 
and good man like him is outvoted, the people are disap- 
pointed of a good consul, rather than he disappointed by 
a vain people); but the point is, would you prefer, were it 
in your power, to be once such a consul as Leelius, or be 
elected four times, like Cinna? I have no doubt in the 
world what answer you will make, and it is on that account 
I put the question to you. 


- I would not ask every one this question; for some one 
perhaps might answer that he would not only prefer four 
consulates to one, but even one day of Cinna’s life to whole 
ages of many famous men. Leelius would have suffered 
had he but touched any one with his finger; but Cinna 
ordered the head of his colleague consul, Cn. Octavius, to 
be struck off; and put to death P. Crassus,‘ and L. Cx- 
sar,’ those excellent men, so renowned both at home and 
abroad; and even M. Antonius,* the greatest orator whom 
I ever heard ; and C. Cesar, who seems to me to have been 
the pattern of humanity, politeness, sweetness. of temper, 
and wit. Could he, then, be happy who occasioned the | 
death of these men? So far from it, that he seems to be 
miserable, not only for having performed these actions, but 
also for acting in such a manner that it was lawful for him 
to do it, though it is unlawful for any one to do wicked 
actions; but this proceeds from inaccuracy of speech, for 
we call whatever a man is allowed to do lawful. Was not 
Marius happier, I pray you, when he shared the glory of 
the victory gained over the Cimbrians with his colleague 
Catulus (who was almost another Lelius ; for I look upon 
the two men as very like one another), than when, conquer- 
or in the civil war, he in a passion answered the friends 
of Catulus, who were interceding for him, “ Let him die?” 
And this answer he gave, not once only, but often. But 
in such a case, he was happier who submitted to that bar- 
barous decree than he who issued it. And it is better to 
receive an injury than to do one; and so it was better to 
advance a little to meet that death that was making its 
approaches, as Catulus did, than, like Marius, to sully the 

lory of six consulships, and disgrace his latter days, by 
the death of such a man. 

X. Dionysius exercised his tyranny over the Syracu- 

sans thirty-eight years, being but twenty-five years old 

1 This was the elder brother of the triumvir Marcus Crassus, 87 B.c. 
He was put to death by Fimbria, who was in command of some of the 
troops of Marius. 

? Lucius Cesar and Caius Cesar were relations (it is uncertain in 
what degree) of the great Caesar, and were killed by Fimbria on the same 
occasion as Octavius. ' 

* M. Antonius was the grandfather of the triumvir ; he was murdered 
the same year, 87 B.c., by Annius, when Marius and Cinna took Rome. 


when he seized on the government. How beautiful and 
how wealthy a city did he oppress with slavery! And yet 
we have it from good authority that he was remarkably 
temperate in his manner of living, that he was very active 
and energetic in carrying on business, but naturally mis- 
chievous and unjust; from which description every one 
who diligently inquires into truth must inevitably see that 
he was very miserable. Neither did he attain what he so 
greatly desired, even when he was persuaded that he had | 
unlimited power; for, notwithstanding he was of a good 
family and reputable parents (though that is contested by 
some authors), and had a very large acquaintance of inti- 
mate friends and relations, and also some youths attached 
to him by ties of love after the fashion of the Greeks, he 
could not trust any one of them, but committed the guard 
of his person to slaves, whom he had selected from rich 
men’s families and made free, and to strangers and barba- 
rians. And thus, through an unjust desire of governing, 
he in a manner shut himself up in a prison. Besides, he 
would not trust his throat to a barber, but had his daugh- 
ters taught to shave; so that these royal virgins were 
forced to descend to the base and slavish employment of 
shaving the head and beard of their father. Nor wonld 
he trust even them, when they were grown up, with a razor; 
but contrived how they might burn off the hair of his head 
and beard with red-hot nutshells, / And as to his two wives, 
Aristomache, his countrywoman, and Doris of Locris, he 
never visited them at night before everything had been 
well searched and examined. . And as he had surrounded 
the place where his bed was with a broad ditch, and made 
a way over it with a wooden bridge, he drew that bridge 
over after shutting his bedchamber door. .And as he did 
_ not dare to stand on the ordinary pulpits from which they 
usually harangued the people, he generally addressed them 
from a high tower. And it is said that when he was dis- 
posed to play at ball—for he delighted much in it—and 
had pulled off his clothes, he used to give his sword into 
the keeping of a young man whom he was very fond of. 
On this, one of his intimates said pleasantly, “ You certain- 
ly trust your life with him;” and as the young man hap- 
pened to smile at this, he ordered them both to be slain, 


the one for showing how he might be taken off, the other 
for approving of what had been said by smiling. But he 
was so concerned at what he had done that nothing affect- 
ed him more during his whole life; for he had slain one 
to whom he was extremely partial. Thus do weak men’s 
desires pull them different ways, and while they indulge 
one, they act counter to another. 

XXI. This tyrant, however, showed himself how happy 
he really was; for once, when Damocles, one of his flatter- 
ers, was dilating in conversation on his forces, his wealth, 
the greatness of his power, the plenty he enjoyed, the 
grandeur of his royal palaces, and maintaining that no 
one was ever happier, “ Have you an inclination,” said he, 
* Damocles, as this kind of life pleases you, to have a taste 
of it yourself, and to make a trial of the good fortune that 
attends me?” And when he said that he should like it 
extremely, Dionysius ordered him to be laid on a bed of 
gold with the most beautiful covering, embroidered and 
wrought with the most exquisite work, and he dressed out 
a great many sideboards with silver and embossed gold. 
He then ordered some youths, distinguished for their hand- 
some persons, to wait at his table, and to observe his nod, 
in order to serve him with what he wanted. There were 
ointments and garlands; perfumes were burned; tables pro- 
vided with the most exquisite meats. Damocles thought 
himself very happy. In the midst of this apparatus, Dio- 
nysius ordered a bright sword to be let down from the 
ceiling, suspended by a single horse-hair, so as to hang 
over the head of that happy man. After which he neither 
cast his eye on those handsome waiters, nor on the well- 
wrought plate; nor touched any of the provisions: pres- 
ently the garlands fell to pieces. At last he entreated the 
tyrant to give him leave to go, for that now he had no de- 
sire to be happy.’ Does not Dionysius, then, seem to have 
declared there can be no happiness for one who is under 
constant apprehensions? But it was not now in his pow- 

1 This story is alluded to by Horace: 

Districtus ensis cui super impia 
Cervice pendet non Sicule dapes 
Dulcem elaborabunt saporem, 
Non avium cithareve cantus 
Somnum reducent.—iii. 1. 17. 


er to return to justice, and restore his citizens their rights 
and privileges; for, by the indiscretion of youth, he had 
engaged in so many wrong steps and committed such ex- 
travagances, that, had he attempted to have returned to 
—. way of thinking, he must have endangered his 

XXII. Yet, how desirous he was of friendship, though 
at the same time he dreaded the treachery of friends, ap- 
pears from the story of those two Pythagoreans: one of 
these had been security for his friend, who was condemned 
to die; the other, to release his security, presented himself 
at the time appointed for his dying: “I wish,” said Dio- 
nysius, “you would admit me as the third in your friend- 
ship.” What misery was it for him to be deprived of ac- 
quaintance, of company at his table, and of the freedom of 
conversation! especially for one who was a man of learn- 
ing, and from his childhood acquainted with liberal arts, 
very fond of music, and himself a tragic poet—how good 
a one is not to the purpose, for I know not how it is, but 
in this way, more than any other, every one thinks his own 
performances excellent. I never as yet knew any poet 
(and I was very intimate with Aquinius), who did not ap- 
pear to himself to be very admirable. The case is this: 
you are pleased with your own works; I like mine. But 
to return to Dionysius. He debarred himself from all civ- 
il and polite conversation, and spent his life among fugi- 
tives, bondmen, and barbarians; for he was persuaded that 
no one could be his friend who was worthy of liberty, or 
had the least desire of being free. 

XXIII. Shall I not, then, prefer the life of Plato and 
Archytas, manifestly wise and learned men, to his, than 
which nothing can possibly be more horrid, or miserable, 
or detestable? 

I will present you with an humble and obscure mathe- 
matician of the same city, called Archimedes, who lived 
many years after; whose tomb, overgrown with shrubs 
and briers, I in my queestorship discovered, when the Syr- 
acusans knew nothing of it, and even denied that there 

‘was any such thing remaining; for 1 remembered some 

verses, which I had been informed were engraved on his 
monument, and these set forth that on the top of the tomb 


there was placed a sphere with a cylinder. When I had 
carefully examined all the monuments (for there are a 
great many tombs at the gate Achradinz), I observed a 
small column: standing out a little above the briers, with 
the figure of a sphere and a cylinder upon it; whereupon 
I immediately said to the Syracusans—for there were 
some of their principal men with me there—that I im- 
agined that was what I was inquiring for. Several men, 
being sent in with seythes, cleared the way, and made an 
opening for us. When we could get at it, and were come 
near to the front of the pedestal, I found the inscription, 
though the latter parts of all the verses were effaced al- 
most half away. Thus one of the noblest cities of Greece, 
and one which at one time likewise had been very cele- 
brated for learning, had known nothing of the monument 
of its greatest genius, if it had not been discovered to them 
by a native of Arpinum. But to return to the subject 
from which I have been digressing. Who is there in the 
least degree acquainted with the Muses, that is, with lib- 
eral knowledge, or that deals at all in learning, who would 
not choose to be this mathematician rather than that ty- 
rant? If we look into their methods of living and their 
employments, we shall find the mind of the one strength- 
ened and improved with tracing the deductions of reason, 
amused with his own ingenuity, which is the one most 
delicious food of the mind; the thoughts of the other en- 
gaged in continual murders and injuries, in constant fears 
by night and by day. Now imagine a Democritus, a Py- 
thagoras, and an Anaxagoras; what kingdom, what riches, 
would you prefer to their studies and amusements ?> For 
you must necessarily look for that excellence which we are 
seeking for in that which is the most perfect part of man; 
but what is there better in man than a sagacious and good 
mind? The enjoyment, therefore, of that good which pro- 
ceeds from that sagacious mind can alone make us happy; 
but virtue is the good of the mind: it follows, therefore, 
that a happy life depends on virtue. Hence proceed all 
things that are beautiful, honorable, and excellent, as I said 
above (but this point must, I think, be treated of more 
at large), and they are well stored with joys. For, as it 
is clear that a happy life consists in perpetual and unex- 


hausted pleasures, it follows, too, that a happy life must 
arise from honesty. 

XXIV. But that what I propose to demonstrate to you 
may not rest on mere words only, I must set before you 
the picture of something, as it were, living and moving in 
the world, that may dispose us more for the improvement 
of the understanding and real knowledge. Let us, then, 
pitch upon some man perfectly acquainted with the most 
excellent arts; let us present him for awhile to our own 
thoughts, and figure him to our own imaginations. In 
the first place, he must necessarily be of an extraordina- 
ry capacity; for virtue is not easily connected with dull 
minds. Secondly, he must have a great desire of discover- 
ing truth, from whence will arise that threefold production 
of the mind; one of which depends on knowing things, 
and explaining nature; the other, in defining what we 
ought to desire and what to avoid; the third, in judg- 
ing of consequences and impossibilities, in which consists 
both subtlety in disputing and also clearness of judgment. 
Now, with what pleasure must the mind of a wise man 
be affected which continually dwells in the midst of such 
cares and occupations as these, when he views the revo- 
lutions and motions of the whole world, and sees those 
innumerable stars in the heavens, which, though fixed in 
their places, have yet one.motion in common with the 
whole universe, and observes the seven other stars, some 
higher, some lower, each maintaining their own course, 
while their motions, though wandering, have certain de- 
fined and appointed spaces to run through! the sight of 
which doubtless urged and encouraged those ancient phi- 
losophers to exercise their investigating spirit on many 
other things. Hence arose an inquiry after the beginnings, 
and, as it were, seeds from which all things were produced 
and composed ; what was the origin of every kind of thing, 
whether animate or inanimate, articulately speaking or 
mute; what occasioned their beginning and end, and by 
what alteration and change one thing was converted into 
another ; whence the earth originated, and by what weights 
it was balanced; by what caverns the seas were supplied ; 
by what gravity all things being carried down tend always 
to the middle of the world, which in any round body is 
the lowest place. 


Sa ee 

a i i i 


XXV. A mind employed on such subjects, and which 
night and day contemplates them, contains in itself that 
precept of the Delphic God, so as to “ know itself,” and to 
perceive its connection with the divine reason, from whence 
it is filled with an insatiable joy. For reflections on the 
power and nature of the Gods raise in us a desire of im- 
itating their eternity. Nor does the mind, that sees the 
necessary dependences and connections that one cause has 
with another, think it possible that it should be itself con- 
fined to the shortness of this life. Those causes, though 
they proceed from eternity to eternity, are governed by 
reason and understanding. And he who beholds them 
and examines them, or rather he whose view takes in all 
the parts and boundaries of things, with what tranquillity 
of mind does he look on all human affairs, and on all that 
is nearer him! Hence proceeds the knowledge of virtue; 
hence arise the kinds and species of virtues; hence are 
discovered those things which nature regards as the 
bounds and extremities of good and evil; by this it is dis- 
covered to what all duties ought to be referred, and which 
is the most eligible manner of life. And when these and 
similar points have been investigated, the principal conse- 
quence which is deduced from them, and that which is our 
main object in this discussion, is the establishment of the 
point, that virtue is of itself sufficient to a happy life. 

The third qualification of our wise man is the next to 
be considered, which goes through and spreads itself over 
every part of wisdom; it is that whereby we define each 
particular thing, distinguish the genus from its species, 
connect consequences, draw just conclusions, and distin- 
guish truth from falsehood, which is the very art and 
science of disputing; which is not only of the greatest use 
in the examination of what passes in the world, but is 
likewise the most rational entertainment, and that which 
is most becoming to true wisdom. Such are its effects in 
retirement. Now, let our wise man be considered as pro- 
tecting the republic; what can be more excellent than such 
a character? By his prudence he will discover the true in- 
terests of his fellow-citizens; by his justice he will be pre- 
vented from applying what belongs to the public to his 
own use; and, in short, he will be ever governed by all the 


virtues, which are many and various. ‘To these let us add 
the advantage of his friendships; in which the learned 
reckon not only a natural harmony and agreement of sen- 
timents throughout the conduct of life, but the utmost 
pleasure and satisfaction in conversing and passing our 
time constantly with one another. What can be wanting 
to such a life as this to make it more happy than it is? 
Fortune herself must yield to a life stored with such joys. 
Now, if it be a happiness to rejoice in such goods of the 
mind, that is to say, in such virtues, and if all wise men 
enjoy thoroughly these pleasures, it must necessarily be 
granted that all such are happy. 

XXVI. A. What, when in torments and on the rack? 

M. Do you imagine I:am speaking of him as laid on 
roses and violets? Is itallowable even for Epicurus (who 
_only puts on the appearance of being a philosopher, and 
who himself assumed that name for himself) to say (though, 
as matters stand, I commend him for his saying) that a 
wise man might at all times cry out, though he be burned, 
tortured, cut to pieces, “How little I regard it!” Shall 
this be said by one who defines all evil as pain, and meas- 
ures every good by pleasure; who could ridicule whatever 
we call either honorable or base, and could declare of us 
that we were employed about words, and uttering mere 
empty sounds; and that nothing is to be regarded by us 
but as it is perceived to be smooth or rough by the body? 
What! shall such a man as this, as I said, whose: under- 
standing is little superior to the beasts’, be at liberty to 
forget himself; and not only to despise fortune, when the 
whole. of his good and evil is in the power.of fortune, but 
‘to say that he is happy in the most racking torture, when 
he had actually declared pain to be not only the greatest 
evil, but the only one? Nor did he take any trouble to 

provide himself with those remedies which might have ° 

enabled him to bear pain, such as firmness of mind, a 
shame of doing anything base, exercise, and the habit of 
patience, precepts of courage, and a manly hardiness; but 
he says that he supports himself on the single recollection 
of past pleasures, as if-any one, when the weather was so 
hot as that he was scarcely able to bear it, should comfort 
himself by recollecting that he was once in my country, 



Arpinum, where he was surrounded on every side by cool. 
ing streams. For I do not apprehend how past pleasures 
can allay present evils. But when he says. that a wise 
man is always happy who would have no right to say so 
if he were consistent with himself, what may they not do 
who allow nothing to be desirable, nothing to be looked 
on as good but what is honorable? Let, then, the Peripa- 
tetics and Old Academics follow my example, and at length 
leave off muttering to themselves; and openly and with a 
clear voice let them be bold to say that a happy life may 
not be inconsistent with the agonies of Phalaris’s bull. 
XXVII. But to dismiss the subtleties of the Stoics, 
which I am sensible I have employed more than was nec- 
essary, let us admit of three kinds of goods; and let them 
really be kinds of goods, provided no regard is had to 
the body and to external circumstances, as entitled to the 
appellation of good in any other sense than because we 
are obliged to use them: but let those other divine goods 
spread themselves far in every direction, and. reach the 
very heavens. Why, then, may I not call him happy, nay, 
the happiest. of men, who has attained them? Shall a 
wise man be afraid of pain? which is, indeed, the greatest 
enemy to our opinion. For I-am persuaded that we are 
prepared and fortified sufficiently, by the disputations of 
the foregoing days, against our own death or that of our 
friends, against. grief, and the other perturbations of the 
mind. But pain seems to be the sharpest adversary of 
virtue; that it is which menaces us with burning torches; 
that. it is which threatens to crush our fortitude, and 
greatness of mind, and patience. Shall virtue, then, yield 
to this? Shall the. happy life of a wise and consistent 
man succumb to this? Good Gods! how base would this 
be! . Spartan boys will bear to have their bodies torn by 
rods without uttering a groan. I myself have seen at 
Lacedzemon troops. of young men, with incredible earnest- 
ness contending together with their hands and feet, with 
their teeth and nails, nay, even ready to expire, rather than 
own. themselves conquered... Is any country of barbarians 
more uncivilized or desolate than India? Yet they have 
among them some that are held for wise men, who never 
wear any clothes all their life long, and who bear the 


snow of Caucasus, and the piercing cold of winter, with- 
out any pain; and who if they come in contact with fire 
endure being burned without a groan. The women, too, 
in India, on the death of their husbands have a regular 
contest, and apply to the judge to have it determined which 
of them was best beloved by him; for it is customary 
there for one man to have many wives. She in whose 
favor it is determined exults greatly, and being attended 
by her relations, is laid on the funeral pile with her hus- 
band; the others, who are postponed, walk away very 
much dejected. Custom can never be superior to nature, 
for nature is never to be got the better of. But our minds 
are infected by sloth and idleness, and luxury, and languor, | 
and indolence: we have enervated them by opinions and 
_bad customs. Who is there who is unacquainted with the 
customs of the Egyptians? Their minds being tainted 
by pernicious opinions, they are ready to bear any torture 
rather than hurt an ibis, a snake, a cat, a dog, or a croco- 
dile; and should any one inadvertently have hurt any of 
these animals, he will submit to any punishment. I am 
speaking of men only. As to the beasts, do they not bear 
cold and hunger, running about in woods, and on moun- 
tains and deserts? Will they not fight for their young 
ones till they are wounded? Are they afraid of any at- 
tacks or blows? I mention not what the ambitious will 
suffer for honor’s sake, or those who are desirous of praise 
on account of glory, or lovers to gratify their lust. Life 
is full of such instances. 

XXVIII. But let us not dwell too much on these ques- 
tions, but rather let us return to our subject. I say, and 
say again, that happiness will submit even to be torment- 
ed; and that in pursuit of justice, and temperance, and 
still more especially and principally fortitude, and great- 
ness of soul, and patience, it will not stop short at sight of 
the executioner; and when all other virtues proceed calm- 
ly to the torture, that one will never halt, as I said, on the 
outside and threshold of the prison; for what can be baser, 
what can carry a worse appearance, than to be left alone, 
separated from those beautiful attendants? Not, however, 
that this is by any means possible; for neither can the 
virtues hold together without happiness, nor happiness 


without the virtues; so that they will not suffer her to de- 
sert them, but will carry her along with them, to whatever 
torments, to whatever pain they are led. For it is the 
peculiar quality of a wise man to do nothing that he may 
repent of, nothing against his inclination, but always to 
act nobly, with constancy, gravity, and honesty; to depend 
on nothing as certainty; to wonder at nothing, when it 
falls out, as if it appeared strange and unexpected to him; 
to be independent of every one, and abide by his own 
opinion. For my part, I cannot form an idea of anything 
happier than this. The conclusion of the Stoics is indeed 
easy; for since they are persuaded that the end of good is 
to live agreeably to nature, and to be consistent with that 
—as a wise man should do so, not only because it is his 
duty, but because it is in his power—it must, of course, 
follow that whoever has the chief good in his power has 
his happiness so too. And thus the life of a wise man is 
always happy. You have here what I think may be con- 
fidently said of a happy life; and as things now stand, very 
truly also, unless you can advance something better. 
XXIX. A. Indeed I cannot; but I should be glad to 
prevail on you, unless it is troublesome (as you are under 
no confinement from obligations to any particular sect, but 
gather from ail of them whatever strikes you most as hav- 
ing the appearance of probability), as you just now seem- 
ed to advise the Peripatetics and the Old Academy boldly 
to speak out without reserve, “that wise men are always 
the happiest ”—I should be glad to hear how you think it 
consistent for them to say so, when you have said so much 
against that opinion, and the conclusions of the Stoics. — 
M. I will make use, then, of that liberty which no one 
has the privilege of using in philosophy but those of our 
school, whose discourses determine nothing, but take in 
everything, leaving them unsupported by the authority of 
any particular person, to be judged of by others, accord- 
ing to their weight. And as you seem desirous of know- 
ing how it is that, notwithstanding the different opinions 
of philosophers with regard to the ends of goods, virtue 
has still sufficient security for the effecting of a happy life 
—which security, as we are informed, Carneades used in- 
deed to dispute against; but he disputed as against the 


Stoics, whose opinions he combated with great zeal and 
vehemence. I, however, shall handle the question with 
more temper; for if the Stoics have rightly settled the 
ends of goods, the affair is at an end; for a wise man 
must necessarily be always happy. But let us examine, if 
we can, the particular opinions of the others, that so this 
excellent decision, if I may so call it, in favor of a happy 
life, may be agreeable to the opinions and discipline of all. 

XXX. These, then, are the opinions, as I think, that are 
held and defended—the first four are simple ones: “ that 
nothing is good but what is honest,” according to the Sto- 
ies; “nothing good but pleasure,” as Epicurus maintains; 
“nothing good but a freedom from pain,” as Hieronymus’ 
asserts; “nothing good but an enjoyment of the princi- 
pal, or all, or the greatest goods of nature,” as Carneades 
maintained against the Stoics—these are simple, the oth- 
ers are mixed propositions. Then there are three kinds 
of goods: the greatest being those of the mind; the next 
best those of the body; the third are external goods, as 
the Peripatetics call them, and the Old Academics differ 
very little from them. Dinomachus’ and Callipho* have 
coupled pleasure with honesty; but Diodorus* the Peri- 
patetic has joined indolence to honesty. These are the 
opinions that have some footing; for those of Aristo,° 
Pyrrho,’ Herillus,’ and of some others, are quite out of 
date. Now let us see what weight these men have in 

* Hieronymus was a Rhodian, and a pupil of Aristotle, flourishing 
about 300 B.c. He is frequently mentioned by Cicero. 

? We know very little of Dinomachus. Some MSS. have Clitoma- 

® Callipho was in all probability a pupil of Epicurus, but we have no 

certain information about him. 

* Diodorus was a Syrian, and succeeded Critolaus as the head of the 
Peripatetic School at Athens, 

® Aristo was a native of Ceos, and a pupil of Lycon, who succeeded 
Straton as the head of the Peripatetic School,.270 B.c. He afterward 
himself succeeded. Lycon. 

® Pyrrho was a native of Elis, and the originator of the sceptical 
theories of some of the ancient philosophers. He was a contemporary 
of Alexander. 

7 Herillus was a disciple of Zeno of Cittium, and therefore a Stoic. 
He did not, however, follow all the opinions of his master: he held that 
knowledge was the chief good. Some of the treatises of Cleanthes were 
written expressly to confute him, 



them, excepting the Stoics, whose opinion I think I have 
sufficiently defended; and indeed I have explained what 
the Peripatetics have to say; excepting that Theophrastus, 
and those who followed him, dread and abhor pain in too 
weak a manner. The others may go on to exaggerate 
the gravity and dignity of virtue, as usual; and then, after 
they have extolled it to the skies, with the usual extrava- 
gance of good orators, it is easy to reduce the other topics 
to nothing by comparison, and to hold them up to con- 
tempt. They who think that praise deserves to be sought 
after, even at the expense of pain, are not at liberty to 
deny those men to be happy who have obtained it. Though 
they may be under some evils, yet this name of happy has 
a very wide application. 

XXXI. For even as trading is said to be lucrative, and 
farming advantageous, not because the one never meets 
with any loss, nor the other with any damage from the in- 
clemency of the weather, but because they succeed in gen- 
eral; so life may be properly called happy, not from its 
being entirely made up of good things, but because it 
abounds with these to a great and considerable degree. 
By this way of reasoning, then, a happy life may attend 
virtue even to the moment of execution; nay, may descend 
with her into Phalaris’s bull, according to Aristotle, Xenoc- 
rates, Speusippus, Polemon; and will not be gained over 
by any allurements to forsake her. Of the same opinion 
will Calliphon and Diodorus be; for they are both of them 
such friends to virtue as to think that all things should be 
discarded and far removed that are incompatible with it. 
The rest seem to be more hampered with these doctrines, 
but yet they get clear of them; such as Epicurus, Hie- 
ronymus, and whoever else thinks it worth while to defend 
the deserted Carneades: for there is not one of them who 
does not think the mind to be judge of those goods, and 
able sufficiently to instruct him how to despise what has 
the appearance only of good or evil. For what séems to 
you to be the case with Epicurus is the case also with 
Hieronymus and Carneades, and, indeed, with all the rest 
of them; for who is there who is not sufficiently prepared 
against death and pain? I will begin, with your leave, 
with him whom we call soft and voluptuous. What! 


does he seem to you to be afraid of death or pain when 
he calls the day of his death happy; and who, when he is 
afflicted by the greatest pains, silences them all by recol- 
lecting arguments of his own discovering? And this is 
not done in such a manner as to give room for imagining 
that he talks thus wildly from some sudden impulse; but 
his opinion of death is, that on the dissolution of the ani- 
mal all sense is lost; and what is deprived of sense is, as 
he thinks, what we have no concern at all with. And as 
to pain, too, he has certain rules to follow then: if it be 
great, the comfort is that it must be short; if it be of 
long continuance, then it must be supportable. What, 
then? Do those grandiloquent gentlemen state anything 
better than Epicurus in opposition to these two things 
which distress us the most? And as to other things, do 
not Epicurus and the rest of the philosophers seem suffi- 
ciently prepared? Who is there who does not dread pov- 
erty? And yet no true philosopher ever can dread it. 
XXXII. But with how little is this man himself satis- 
fied! No one has said more on frugality. For when a 
man is far removed from those things which occasion a 
desire of money, from love, ambition, or other daily ex- 
travagance, why should he be fond of money, or concern 
himself. at all about it? Could the Scythian Anacharsis’ 
disregard money, and shall not our philosophers be able 
to do so? We are informed of an epistle of his in these 
words: “Anacharsis to Hanno, greeting. My clothing is 
the same as that with which the Scythians cover them- 
selves; the hardness of my feet supplies the want of 
shoes; the ground is my bed, hunger my sauce, my food 
milk, cheese, and flesh. So you may come to me as to a 
man in want of nothing. But as to those presents you 
take so much pleasure in, you may dispose of them to your 
own citizens, or to the immortal Gods.” .And almost all 
philosophers, of all schools, excepting those who are warp- 

? Anacharsis was (Herod., iv., 76) son of Gnurus and brother of Sauli- 
us, King of Thrace. He came to Athens while Solon was occupied in 
framing laws for his people; and by the simplicity of his way of living, 
and his acute observations on the manners of the Greeks, he excited 
such general admiration that he was reckoned by some writers among 
the Seven Wise Men of Greece. 


‘ed from right reason by a vicious disposition, might have 
been of this same opinion. Socrates, when on one occasion 
he saw a great quantity of gold and silver carried in a pro- 
cession, cried out, How many things are there which I 
do not want!” Xenocrates, when some ambassadors from 
Alexander had brought him fifty talents, which was a very 
large sum of money in those times, especially at Athens, 
carried the ambassadors to sup in the Academy, and placed 
just a sufficiency before them, without any apparatus, 
When they asked him, the next day, to whom he wished 
the money which they had for him to be paid: “ What!” 
said he, “ did you not perceive by our slight repast of yes- 
terday that I had no occasion for money?” But when he 
perceived that they were somewhat dejected, he accepted 
of thirty mine, that he might not seem to treat with dis- 
respect the king’s generosity. But Diogenes took a great- 
er liberty, like a Cynic, when Alexander asked him if he 
wanted anything: “Just at present,” said he, “I wish that 
you would stand a little out of the line between me and 
the sun,” for Alexander was hindering him from sunning 
himself. And, indeed, this very man used to maintain how 
much he surpassed the Persian. king in his manner of life 
and fortune; for that he himself was in want of nothing, 
while the other never had enough; and that he had no in- 
clination for those pleasures of which the other could nev- 
er get enough to satisfy himself; and that the other could 
never obtain his. 

XXXII. You see, I imagine, how Epicurus has divided 
his kinds of desires, not very acutely perhaps, but yet use- 
fully: saying that they are “ partly natural and necessary ; 
partly natural, but not necessary; partly neither. ‘That 
those which are necessary may be supplied almost for 
nothing; for that the things which nature requires are 
easily obtained.” As to the second kind of desires, his’ 
opinion is that any one may easily either enjoy or go with- 
out them. And with regard to the third, since they are 
utterly frivolous, being neither allied to necessity nor nat- 
ure, he thinks that they should be entirely rooted out. On 
this topic a great many arguments are adduced by the 
Epicureans; and those pleasures which they do not de- 
spise in a body, they disparage one by one, and seem rath- 


er for lessening the number of them; for as to wanton 
pleasures, on which subject they say a great deal, these, 
say they, are easy, common, and within any one’s reach; 
and they think that if nature requires them, they are not 
to be estimated by birth, condition, or rank, but by shape, 
age, and person: and that it is by no means difficult to re- 
frain from them, should health, duty, or reputation require 
it; but that pleasures of this kind may be desirable, where 
they are attended with no inconvenience, but can never 
be of any use. And the assertions which Epicurus makes 
with respect to the whole of pleasure are such as show his 
opinion to be that pleasure is always desirable, and to be 
pursued merely because it is pleasure; and for the same 
reason pain is to be avoided, because it is pain. So that 
a wise man will always adopt such a system of counter- 
balancing as to do himself the justice to avoid pleasure, 
should pain ensue from it in too great a preportion; and 
will submit to pain, provided the effects of it are to pro- 
duce a greater pleasure: so that all pleasurable things, 
though the corporeal senses are the judges of them, are 
still to be referred to the mind, on which account the body 
rejoices while it perceives a present pleasure; but that the 
mind not only perceives the present as well as the body, 
but foresees it while it is coming, and even when it is past 
will not let it quite slip away. So that a wise man enjoys 
4 continual series of pleasures, uniting the expectation of 
future pleasure to the recollection of what he has already 
tasted. The like notions are applied by them to high liv- 
ing; and the magnificence and expensiveness of entertain- * 
ments are deprecated, because nature is satisfied at a small 

XXXIV. For who does not see this, that an appetite 
is the best sauce? When Darius, in his flight from the 
enemy, had drunk some water which was muddy and 
tainted with dead bodies, he declared that he had never 
drunk anything more pleasant; the fact was, that he had 
never drunk before when he was thirsty. Nor had Ptol- 
emy ever eaten when he was hungry; for as he was tray- 
elling over Egypt, his company not keeping up with him, 
he had some coarse bread presented him in a cottage, 
upon which he said, “ Nothing ever seemed to him pleas- 


anter than that bread.” They relate, too, of Socrates, that, 
ence when he was walking very fast till the evening, on 
his being asked why he did so, his reply was that he 
was purchasing an appetite by walking, that he might sup 
the better. And do we not see what the Lacedzmonians 
provide in their Phiditia? where the tyrant Dionysius 
supped, but told them he did not at all like that black 
broth, which was their principal dish; on which he who 
dressed it said, “It was no wonder, for it wanted season- 
ing.” Dionysius asked what that seasoning was; to which 
it was replied, “ Fatigue in hunting, sweating, a race on 
the banks of Eurotas, hunger and thirst,” for these are the 
seasonings to the Lacedemonian banquets. And this may 
not only be conceived from the custom of men, but from 
the beasts, who are satisfied with anything that is thrown 
before them, provided it is not unnatural, and they seek 
no farther. Some entire cities, taught by custom, delight 
in parsimony, as I said but just now of the Lacedsemo- 
nians. Xenophon has given an account of the Persian diet, 
who never, as he saith, use anything but cresses with 
their bread; not but that, should nature require anything 
more agreeable, many things might be easily supplied by 
the ground, and plants in great abundance, and of incom- 
parable sweetness. Add to this strength and health, as 
the consequence of this abstemious way of living. Now, 
compare with this those who sweat and belch, being cram- 
med with eating, like fatted oxen; then will you perceive 
that they who pursue pleasure most. attain it least; and 
that the pleasure of eating lies not in satiety, but appetite. 

XXXV. They report of Timotheus, a famous man at 
Athens, and the head of the city, that having supped with 
Plato, and being extremely delighted with his entertain- 
ment, on seeing him the next day, he said, “ Your suppers 
are not only agreeable while I partake of them, but the 
next day also.” Besides, the understanding is impaired 
when we are full with overeating and drinking. There is 
an excellent epistle of Plato to Dion’s relations, in which 
there occurs as nearly as possible these words: “ When I 
came there, that happy life so much talked of, devoted to 
Italian and Syracusan entertainments, was noways agree- 
able to me; to be crammed twice a day, and never to 


have the night to yourself, and the other things which are 
the accompaniments of this kind of life, by which a man 
will never be made the wiser, but will be rendered much 
less temperate; for it must be an extraordinary disposi- 
tion that can be temperate in such circumstances.” How, 
then, can a life be pleasant without prudence and temper- 
ance? Hence you discover the mistake of Sardanapalus, 
the wealthiest king of the Assyrians, who ordered it to be 
engraved on his tomb, 

. I still have what in food I did exhaust; 
But what I left, though excellent, is lost. 

' “What less than this,” says Aristotle, “could ‘be in- 
scribed on the tomb, not of a king, but an ox?” He said 
that he possessed those things when dead, which, in his 
lifetime, he could have no longer than while he was enjoy- 
ing them. Why, then, are riches desired? And wherein 
doth poverty prevent us.from being happy? In the want, 
I imagine, of statues, pictures, and diversions. But if any 
one is delighted with these things, have not the poor peo- 
ple the enjoyment of them more than they who are the 
owners of them in the greatest abundance? For we have 
great numbers of them displayed publicly in our city. 
And whatever store of them private people have, they can- 
_ not have a great number, and they but seldom see them, 
only when they go to their country seats; and some of 
them must be stung to the heart when they consider how 
they came by them. The day would fail me, should I be 
inclined to defend the cause of poverty. The thing is man- 
ifest; and nature daily informs us how few things there 
are, and how trifling they are, of which she really stands 
in need. 

XXXVI. Let us inquire, then, if obscurity, the want of 
power, or even the. being unpopular, can prevent a wise 
man from being happy. Observe if popular favor, and 
this glory which they are so fond of, be not attended with 
more uneasiness than pleasure. Our friend Demosthenes 
was certainly very weak in declaring himself pleased with 
the whisper of a woman who was carrying water, as is the 
custom in Greece, and who whispered to another, “ That is 
he—that is Demosthenes.” What could be weaker than 


_  - 



this? and yet what an orator he was! But although he 
had learned to speak to others, he had conversed but lit- 
tle with himself. We may perceive, therefore, that pop- 
ular glory is not desirable of itself; nor is obscurity to 
be dreaded. “I came to Athens,” saith Democritus, “ and 
there was no one there that knew me:” this was a mod- 
erate and grave man who could glory in his obscurity. 
Shall musicians compose their tunes to their own tastes? 
and shall a philosopher, master of a much better art, seek 
to ascertain, not what is most true, but what will please 
the people? Can anything be more absurd than to de- 
spise the vulgar as mere unpolished mechanics, taken sin- 
gly, and to think them of consequence when collected into 
a body? These wise men would contemn our ambitious 
pursuits and our vanities, and would reject all the honors 
which the people could voluntarily offer to them; but we 
know not how to despise them till we begin to repent of 
having accepted them. There is an anecdote related by 
Heraclitus, the natural philosopher, of Hermodorus, the 
chief of the Ephesians, that he said “that all the Ephe- 
sians ought to be punished with death for saying, when 
they had expelled Hermodorus out of their city, that they 
would have no one among them better than another; but 
that if there were any such, he might go elsewhere to some 
other people.” Is not this the case with the people every- 
where? Do they not hate every virtue that distinguishes 
itself? What! was not Aristides (I had rather instance 
in the Greeks than ourselves) banished his country for be- 
ing eminently just? What troubles, then, are they free 
from who have no connection whatever with the people? 
What is more agreeable than a learned retirement? I 
speak of that learning which makes us acquainted with 
the boundless extent of nature and the universe, and which 
even while we remain in this world discovers to us both 
heaven, earth, and sea. 

XXXVI. If, then, honor and riches have no value, what 
is there else to be afraid of? Banishment, I suppose; which 
is looked en as the greatest evil. Now, if the evil of ban- 
ishment proceeds not from ourselves, but from the froward 
disposition of the people, I have just now declared how 
contemptible it is. . But if to leave one’s country be mis- 




erable, the provinces are full of miserable men, very few 
of the settlers in which ever return to their country again. 
But exiles are deprived of their property! What, then! 
has there not been enough said on bearing poverty? But 
with regard to banishment, if we examine the nature of 
things, not the ignominy of the name, how little does it 
differ from constant travelling! in which some of the most 
famous philosophers have spent their whole life, as Xenoc- 
rates, Crantor, Arcesilas, Lacydes, Aristotle, Theophrastus, 
Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Antipater, Carneades, Pane- 
tius, Clitomachus, Philo, Antiochus, Posidonius, and innu- 
merable others, who from their first setting- out never re- 
turned home again. Now, what ignominy can a wise man 
be affected with (for it is of such a one that I am speak- 
ing) who can be guilty of nothing which deserves it? for 
there is no occasion to comfort one who is banished for 
his deserts. Lastly, they can easily reconcile themselves 
to every accident who measure all their objects and pur- 
suits in life by the standard of pleasure; so that in what- 
-ever place that is supplied, there they may live happily. 
Thus what Teucer said may be applied to every case: 

‘* Wherever I am happy is my country.” 

Socrates, indeed, when he was asked where he belong- 
ed to, replied, “The world ;” for-he looked upon himself 
as a citizen and inhabitant of the whole world. How was 
it with T. Altibutius? Did he not follow his philosoph- 
ical studies with the greatest satisfaction at Athens, al- 
though he was banished ? which, however, would not have 
happened to him if he had obeyed the laws of Epicurus 
and lived peaceably in the republic. In what was Epicu- 
rus happier, living in his own country, than Metrodorus, 
who lived at Athens? Or did Plato’s happiness exceed 
that of Xenocrates, or Polemo, or Arcesilas? Or is that 
city to be valued much that banishes all her good and 
wise men? Demaratus, the father of our King Tarquin, 
not being able to bear the tyrant Cypselus, fled from 
Corinth to Tarquinii, settled there, and had children. Was 
it, then, an unwise act in him to prefer the liberty of ban- 
ishment to slavery at home? 

XXXVIII. Besides the emotions of the mind, all griefs 


and anxieties are assuaged by forgetting them, and turn- 
ing our thoughts to pleasure. Therefore, it was not with- 
out reason that Epicurus presumed to say that a wise man 
abounds with good things, because he may always have 
his pleasures; from whence it follows, as he thinks, that 
that point is gained which is the subject of our present 
inquiry, that a wise man is always happy. What! though 
he should be deprived of the senses of seeing and hear- 
ing? Yes; for he holds those things very cheap. For, 
in the first place, what are the pleasures of which we are 
deprived by that dreadful thing, blindness? For though 
they allow other pleasures to be confined to the senses, 
yet the things which are perceived by the sight do not 
depend wholly on the pleasure the eyes receive; as is the 
case when we taste, smell, touch, or hear; for, in respect 
of all these senses, the organs themselves are the seat of 
pleasure; but it is not so with the eyes. For it is the 
mind which is entertained by what we see; but the mind 
may be entertained in many ways, even though we could 
not see at all. I am speaking of a learned and a wise 
man, with whom to think is to live. But thinking in the 
case of a wise man does not altogether require the use of 
his eyes in his investigations; for if night does not strip 
him of his happiness, why should blindness, which re- 
sembles night, have that effect? For the reply of Antip- 
ater the Cyrenaic to some women who bewailed his be- 
ing blind, though it is a little too obscene, is not without 
its significance. “What do you mean?” saith he; “do. 
you think the night can furnish no pleasure?” And we 
find by his magistracies and his actions that old Appius,* 
too, who was blind for many years, was not prevented 
from doing whatever was required of him with respect 
either to the republic or his own affairs. It is said that 
C. Drusus’s house was crowded ‘with clients. When 
they whose business it was could not see how to conduct 
themselves, they applied to a blind guide. 

XXXIX. When I was a boy, Cn. Aufidius, a blind man, 

1 This was Appius Claudius Czcus, who was censor 310 B.c., and 
who, according to Livy, was afflicted with blindness by the Gods for per- 
suading the Potitii to instruct the public servants in the way of sacri- 
ficing to Hercules. He it was who made the Via Appia. 


who had served the office of preetor, not only gave his 
opinion in the Senate, and was ready to assist his friends, 
but wrote a Greek history, and had a considerable ac- 
quaintance with literature. Diodorus the Stoic was blind, 
and lived many years at my house. He, indeed, which 
is scarcely credible, besides applying himself more than 
usual to philosophy, and playing on the flute, agreeably 
to the custom of the Pythagoreans, and having books 
read to him night and day, in all which he did not want 
eyes, contrived to teach geometry, which, one would think, 
could hardly be done without the assistance of eyes, tell- 
ing his scholars how and where to draw every line. They 
relate of Asclepiades, a native of Eretria, and no ob- 
secure philosopher, when some one asked him what incon- 
venience he suffered from his blindness, that his reply was, 
“He was at the expense of another servant.” So that, 
as the most extreme poverty may be borne if you please, 
as is daily the case with some in Greece, so blindness may 
easily be borne, provided you have the support of good 
health in other respects. Democritus was so blind he 
could not distinguish white from black; but he knew the 
difference between good and evil, just and unjust, honora- 
ble and base, the useful and useless, great and small. Thus 
one may live happily without distinguishing colors; but 
without acquainting yourself with things, you cannot; and 
this man was of opinion that the intense application of the 
mind was taken off by the objects that presented them- 
selves to the eye; and while others often could not see 
what was before their feet, he travelled through all infini- 
ty. It is reported also that Homer’ was blind, but we ob- 

? The fact of Homer’s blindness rests on a passage in the Hymn to 
Apollo, quoted by Thucydides as a genuine work of Homer, and which 
is thus spoken of by one of the most accomplished scholars that this 
country or this age has ever produced: “They are indeed beautiful 
verses; and if none worse had ever been attributed to Homer, the Prince 
of Poets would have had little reason to complain, - 

‘*He has been describing the Delian festival in honor of Apollo and 
Diana, and concludes this part of the poem with an address to the 
women of that island, to whom it is to be supposed that he had become 
familiarly known by his frequent recitations : 

Xaipete 3 ipeis macat, eueto dé Kai petomicbe 
pvncacd’, Srmroté Kév Tis émexOoviayv avOpwreav 


serve his painting as well as his poetry. What country, 
what coast, what part of Greece, what military attacks, 
what dispositions of battle, what army, what ship, what 
motions of men and animals, can be mentioned which he 
has not described in such a manner as to enable us to see 
what he could not see himself? What, then! can we im- 
agine that Homer, or any other learned man, has ever been 
in want of pleasure and entertainment for his mind? 
Were it not so, would Anaxagoras, or this very Democri- 
tus, have left their estates and patrimonies, and given them- 
selves up to the pursuit of acquiring this divine pleasure ? 
It is thus that the poets who have represented Tiresias the 
Augur as a wise man and blind never exhibit him as be- 
wailing his blindness. And Homer, too, after he had de- 
scribed Polyphemus as a monster and a wild man, repre- 
sents him talking with his ram, and speaking of his good 
fortune, inasmuch as he could go wherever he pleased and 
touch what he would. And so far he was right, for that 
Cyclops was a being of not much more understanding than 
his ram. 

XL. Now, as to the evil of being deaf. M. Crassus was 
a little thick of hearing; but it was more uneasiness to 
him that he heard himself ill spoken of; though, in my 
opinion, he did not deserve it. Our Epicureans cannot 
understand Greek, nor the Greeks Latin: now, they are 
deaf reciprocally as to each other’s language, and we are 
all truly deaf with regard to those innumerable languages 
which we do not understand. They do not hear the voice 
of the harper; but, then, they do not hear the grating of a 
saw when it is setting, or the grunting of a hog when his 

évOad’ dveipnrat Feivos tadameipios éhOwv 

@ KoUpat, tis 3 bupev aviyp Hdratos dodey 
evOdde madeira: kai téw téprecbe padiota; 
ipets 3 eb dra waca broxpivacbe ad’ hpuéov, 
Tuprds avip, oixet d¢ Xiw évi rarmadoécon, 
Tov macat petomicbev dprotedovorw dodat. 

Virgins, farewell—and oh! remember me . 

Hereafter, when some stranger from the sea, 

A hapless wanderer, o. Riyd isle explore 

And ask yon, ‘ Maids, of all the bards you boast, 

Who sings the sweetest, and delights you most?’ 

Oh! answer all, ‘A blind old man, and poor, 

Sweetest he sings, and dwells on Chios’ rocky shore.'” 

Coleridge’s Introduction to the Study of the Greek Classie Poets. 


throat is being cut, nor the roaring of the sea when they 
are desirous of rest. And if they should chance to be fond 
of singing, they ought, in the first place, to consider that 
many wise men lived happily before music was discoy- 
ered; besides, they may have more pleasure in reading 
verses than in hearing them sung. Then, as I before re- 
ferred the blind to the pleasures of hearing, so I may the 
deaf to the pleasures of sight: moreover, whoever can con- 
verse with himself doth not need the conversation of an- 
other. But suppose all these misfortunes to meet in one 
person: suppose him blind and deaf—let him be afflicted 
with the sharpest pains of body, which, in the first place, 
generally of themselves make an end of him; still, should 
they continue so long, and the pain be so exquisite, that we 
should be unable to assign any reason for our being so af- 
flicted — still, why, good Gods! should we be under any 
difficulty? For there is a retreat at hand: death is that 
retreat—a shelter where we shall forever be insensible. 
Theodorus said to Lysimachus, who threatened him with 
death, “It is a great matter, indeed, for you to have ac- 
quired the power. ofa Spanish fly!” When Perses en- 
treated Paulus not to lead him in triumph, “That is a 
matter which you have in your own power,” said Paulus, 
I said many things about death in our first day’s disputa- 
tion, when death was the subject; and not a little the next 
day, when I treated of pain; which things if you recollect, 
there can be no danger of your looking upon death as un- 
desirable, or, at least, it will not be dreadful. 

That custom which is common among the Grecians 
at their banquets should, in my opinion, be observed in 
life: Drink, say they, or leave the company; and rightly 
enough; for a guest should either enjoy the pleasure of 
drinking with others, or else not stay till he meets with 
affronts from those that are in liquor. .Thus, those in- 
juries of fortune which you cannot bear you should flee 

XLI. This is the very same which is said by Epicu- 
rus and Hieronymus. Now, if those philosophers, whose 
opinion it is that virtue has no power of itself, and who 
say that the conduct which we denominate honorable and 
laudable is really nothing, and is only an empty circum- 


stance set off with an unmeaning sound, can nevertheless 
maintain that a wise man is always happy, what, think 
you, may be done by the Socratic and Platonic philoso- 
phers? Some of these allow such superiority to the goods 
of the mind as quite to eclipse what concerns the body 
and all external circumstances. But others do not admit 
these to be goods; they make everything depend on the 
mind: whose disputes Carneades used, as a sort of hon- 
orary arbitrator, to determine. For, as what seemed 
goods to the Peripatetics were allowed to be advantages 
by the Stoics, and as the Peripatetics allowed no more to 
riches, good health, and other things of that sort than the 
Stoics, when these things were considered according to 
their reality, and not by mere names, his opinion was that 
there was no ground for disagreeing. Therefore, let the 
philosophers of other schools see how they can establish 
this point also. It is very agreeable to me that they make 
some professions worthy of being uttered by the mouth 
of a philosopher with regard to a wise man’s having al- 
ways the means of living happily. 

XLII. But as we are to depart in the morning, let us 
remember these five days’ discussions; though, indeed, I 
think I shall commit them to writing: for how can I bet- 
ter employ the leisure which I have, of whatever kind it 
is, and whatever it be owing to? And I will send these 
five books also to my friend Brutus, by whom I was not 
only incited to write on philosophy, but, I may say, pro- 
voked. And by so doing it is not easy to say what service 
I may be of to others. At all events, in my own various 
and acute afflictions, which surround me on all sides, I 
cannot find any better comfort for myself. 

£ “aeaien gerd oll Oe Be * 
fom hk vente frites 2 mice neon, baits P28. ‘ie 
ae hientohk nalts: oy Salen “ab gabe ye cab G8 ads 
i Hee wm wy feat eobanenal® aecieeeat 
fed ae 
tune ia eet ob So wo % eae ‘aut: median oe nei 
e . sarin ors Pi qatt wae Baie ssibetl 
okt y teblae hae ce be 
Mules Bs aed site ¢ 
fey ah amrccae ote ae ied tou BR eiiae : 
adierngend le +e f Like oir mae Bias 
as Shay iy pers ntsk ost aiendheay oe aredtgonolt 
disin's yi? dirty gat at of: Sovrtge eet Bk Lote Ie f 
Rewet of? ied tegen eur tod “te eho st ai 8 gee 
. gid chia sot fades cabin onsite < 

bit nly pe Rey iri 

rsd ae et ae rers | 
FS was wee Bat? sheet ie OP seek tee anions Hixith € hd vu 
i fait morenteitir 3 rh Aber bp Battie oudelse ott ORNs 
Berd h Bucs feete: Fee rents aad 9a) ya 
mk tie L prothe FE eet finotit Kies a : 
MORE Ue iid E ted peteaolieh ae attra ox Harkin 
ees eal ve Yas od Vee tore ak fr yah owed bak 
Beat? Racal | rd rig yee wy He tte: arotrstek To oe 
hdl Be oat: Leretiee dont goto Oe 
Dag Piste ct at a 0h ee rarest oak halt beng 


: ia 4% 
‘ rs ee 



I, TuEreE are many things in philosophy, my dear Bru- 
tus, which are not as yet fully explained to us, and par- 
ticularly (as you very well know) that most obscure and 
difficult question concerning the Nature of the Gods, so 
extremely necessary both towards a knowledge of the hu- 
man mind and the practice of true religion: concerning 
which the opinions of men are so various, and so different 
from each other, as to lead strongly to the inference that 
ignorance’ is the cause, or origin, of philosophy, and that 
the Academic philosophers have been prudent in refusing 
their assent to things uncertain: for what is more unbe- 
coming to a wise man than to judge rashly ? or what rash- 
ness is so unworthy of the gravity and stability of a phi- 
losopher as either to maintain false opinions, or, without 
the least hesitation, to support and defend what he has 
not thoroughly examined and does not clearly compre- 

In the question now before us, the greater part of man- 
kind have united to acknowledge that which is most prob- 
able, and which we are all by nature led to suppose, name- 
ly, that there are Gods. Protagoras? doubted whether 
there were any. Diagoras the Melian and Theodorus of 
Cyrene entirely believed there were no such beings. But 
they who have affirmed that there are Gods, have express- 
ed such a variety of sentiments on the subject, and the 
disagreement between them is so great, that it would be 

? Some read scientiam and some inscientiam; the latter of which is 
preferred by some of the best editors and commentators. 

? For a short account of these ancient Greek philosophers, see the 
sketch prefixed to the Academics (Classical Library). 


tiresome to enumerate their opinions; for they give us 
many statements respecting the forms of the Gods, and 
their places of abode, and the employment of their lives. 
And these are matters on which the philosophers differ 
with the most exceeding earnestness. But the most con- 
siderable part of the dispute is, whether they are wholly 
inactive, totally unemployed, and free from all care and 
administration of affairs; or, on the contrary, whether all 
things were made and eonstituted by them from the begin- 
ning; and whether they will continue to be actuated and 
governed by them to eternity. This is one of the greatest 
points in debate; and unless this is decided, mankind must 
necessarily remain in the greatest of errors, and ignorant 
of what is most important to be known. 

If. For there are some philosophers, both ancient and 
modern, who have conceived that the Gods take not the 
least cognizance of human affairs. But if their doctrine 
be true, of what avail is piety, sanctity, or religion? for 
these are feelings and marks of devotion which are offered 
to the Gods by men with uprightness and holiness, on the 
ground that men are the objects of the attention of the 
Gods, and that many benefits are conferred by the immor- 
tal Gods on the human race. But if the Gods have neither 
the power nor the inclination to help us; if they take no 
care of us, and pay no regard to our actions; and if there 
is no single advantage which can possibly accrue to the 
life of man; then what reason can we have to pay any 
adoration, or any honors, or to prefer any prayers to them ? 
Piety, like the other virtues, cannot have any connection 
with vain show or dissimulation; and without piety, nei- 
ther sanctity nor religion can be supported; the total sub- 
version of which must be attended with great confusion 
and disturbance in life. 

I do not even know, if we cast off piety towards the 
Gods, but that faith, and all the associations of human 
life, and that most excellent of all virtues, justice, may 
perish with it. 

There are other philosophers, and those, too, very great 
and illustrious men, who conceive the whole world to be di- 
rected and governed by the will and wisdom of the Gods; 
nor do they stop here, but conceive likewise that the Deities 


consult and provide for the preservation of mankind. For 
they think that the fruits, and the produce of the earth, 
and the seasons, and the variety of weather, and the change 
of climates, by which all the productions of the earth are 
brought to maturity, are designed by the immortal Gods 
for the use of man. They instance many other things, 
which shall be related in these books; and which would 
almost induce us to believe that the immortal Gods had 
made them all expressly and solely for the benefit and ad- 
vantage of men. Against these opinions Carneades has 
advanced so much that what he has said should excite a 
desire in men who are not naturally slothful to search 
after truth; for there is no subject on which the learned 
as well as the unlearned differ so strenuously as in this; 
and since their opinions are so various, and so repugnant 
one to another, it is possible that none of them may be, 
and absolutely impossible that more than one should be, 

‘TIL. Now, in a cause like this, I. may be able to pacify 
well-meaning opposers, and to confute invidious censur ers, 
so as to induce the latter to repent of their unreasonable 
contradiction, and the former to be glad to learn; for they 
who admonish one in a fr iendly spirit should be instruet- 
ed, they who attack one like enemies should be repelled. 
But I observe that the several books which I have lately 
published’ have occasioned much noise and various dis- 
course about them; some people wondering what the rea- 
son has been why I have applied myself so suddenly to 
the study of philosophy, and others desirous of knowing 
what my opinion is on such subjects. I likewise per- 
ceive that many people wonder at my following that phi- 
losophy* chiefly which seems to take away the light, and 
to bury and envelop things in a kind of artificial night, and 
that I should so unexpectedly have taken up the. defence 
of a school that has been long neglected and forsaken. 
But it is a mistake to suppose that this application to phil- 
osophical studies has been sudden on my part. I have ap- 

? Cicero wrote his philosophical works in the last three years of his 
life. When he wrote this piece, he was in the sixty-third year of his 
age, in the year of Rome 709. 

? The Academic. 


plied myself to them from my youth, at no small expense 
of time and trouble; and I have been in the habit of phi- 
losophizing a great deal when I least seemed to think about 
it; for the truth of which I appeal to my orations, which 
are filled with quotations from philosophers, and to my in- 
timacy with those very learned men who frequented my 
house and conversed daily with me, particularly Diodorus, 
Philo, Antiochus, and Posidonius,* under whom I was bred; 
and if all the precepts of philosophy are to have reference 
to the conduct of life, I am inclined to think that I have ad- 
vanced, both in public and private affairs, only such prin- 
ciples as may be supported by reason and authority. 

IV. But if any one should ask what has induced me, in 
the decline of life, to write on these subjects, nothing is 
more easily answered; for when I found myself entirely 
disengaged from business, and the commonwealth reduced 
to the necessity of being governed by the direction \and 
care of one man,’ I thought it becoming, for the sake of 
the public, to instruct my countrymen in philosophy, and 
that it would be of importance, and much to the honor and 
commendation of our city, to have such great and excel- 
lent subjects introduced in the Latin tongue. I the less 
repent of my undertaking, since I plainly see that I have 
excited in many a desire, not only of learning, but of writ- 
ing; for we have had several Romans well grounded in 
the learning of the Greeks who were unable to communi- 
cate to their countrymen what they had learned, because 
they looked upon it as impossible to express that in Latin 
which they had received from the Greeks. In this point 
I think I have succeeded so well that what I have done is 
not, even in copiousness of expression, inferior to that lan- 

Another inducement to it was a melancholy disposition 
of mind, and the great and heavy oppression of fortune 
that was upon me; from which, if I could have found any 
surer remedy, I would not have sought relief in this pur- 
suit. But I could procure ease by no means better than 
by not only applying myself to books, but by devoting my- 

* Diodorus and Posidonius were Stoics; Philo and Antiochus were 

Academics; but the latter afterward inclined to the doctrine of the Stoics. 
? Julius Cesar. 


self to the examination of the whole body of philosophy. 
And every part and branch of this is readily discovered 
when every question is propounded in writing; for there is 
such an admirable continuation and series of things that 
each seems connected with the other, and all appear linked 
together and united. 

V. Now, those men who desire to know my own private 
opinion on every particular subject have more curiosity than 
is necessary. For the force of reason in disputation is to 
be sought after rather than authority, since the authority 
of the teacher is often a disadvantage to those who are 
willing to learn; as they refuse to use their own judgment, 
and rely implicitly on him whom they make choice of for 
a preceptor. Nor could I ever approve this custom of the 
Pythagoreans, who, when they affirmed anything in dispu- 
tation, and were asked why it was so, used to give this an- 
swer: “ He himself has said it ;” and this “ he himself,” it 
seems, was Pythagoras. Such was the force of prejudice 
and opinion that his authority was to prevail even without 
arguinent or reason. 

They who wonder at my being a follower of this sect in 
particular may find a satisfactory answer in my four books 
of Academical Questions.. But I deny that I have under- 
taken the protection of what is neglected and forsaken ; 
for the opinions of men do not die with them, though they 
may perhaps want the author’s explanation. This manner 
of philosophizing, of disputing all things and assuming 
nothing certainly, was begun by Socrates, revived by Ar- 
cesilaus, confirmed by Carneades, and has descended, with 
all its power, even to the present age; but I am informed 
that it is now almost exploded even in Greece. However, 
I do not impute that to any fault in the institution of the 
Academy, but to the negligence of mankind. If it is diffi- 
cult to know all the doctrines of any one sect, how much 
more is it to know those of every sect! which, however, 
must necessarily be known to those who resolve, for the 
sake of discovering truth, to dispute for or against all phi- 
losophers without partiality. 

I do not profess myself to be master of this difficult and 

noble faculty ; but I do assert that 1 hay : 
make myself so; and it is impossible that they who choose 



this manner of phildsophizing should not meet at least with 
something worthy( their pursuit. I have spoken more 
fully on this head in another place. But as some are too 
slow of apprehension, and some too careless, men stand in 
perpetual need of caution. For we are not people who be- 
lieve that there is nothing whatever which is true; but we 
say that some falsehoods ate so blended with all truths, 
and have so great a resemblance to them, that there is no 
certain rule for judging of or assenting to propositions; 
from which this maxim also follows, that many things are 
probable, which, though they are not evident to the senses, 
have still so persuasive and beautiful an aspect that a wise 
man chooses to direct his conduct by them. 

VI. Now, to free myself from the reproach of partiality, 
I propose to lay before you the opinions of various phi- 
losophers concerning the nature of the Gods, by which 
means all men may judge which of them are consistent 
with truth; and if all agree together, or if any one shall 
be found to have discovered what may be absolutely called 
truth, I will then give up the Academy as vain and arro- 
gant. So I may cry out, in the words of Statius, in the 

Ye Gods, I call upon, require, pray, beseech, entreat, and implore the 
attention of my countrymen all, both young and old; 

yet not on so trifling an occasion as when the person in the 
play complains that, 

In this city we have discovered a most flagrant iniquity: here is a pro- 
fessed courtesan, who refuses money from her lover ; 

but that they may attend, know, and consider what senti- 
ments they ought to preserve concerning religion, piety, 
sanctity, ceremonies, faith, oaths, temples, shrines, and sol- 
emn sacrifices; what they ought to think of the auspices 
over which I preside;’ for all these have relation to the 
present question. The manifest disagreement among the 
most learned on this subject creates doubts in those who 
imagine they have some certain knowledge of the sub- 

Which fact I have often taken notice of elsewhere, and 

1 Cicero was one of the College of Augurs. 

+9 ORE 


I did so more especially at the discussion that was held at 
my friend C. Cotta’s concerning the immortal Gods, and 
which was carried on with the greatest care, accuracy, and 
precision; for coming to him at the time of the Latin 
holidays,’ according to his own invitation and message 
from him, I found him sitting in his study,’ and in a dis- 
course with C. Velleius, the senator, who was then reputed 
by the Epicureans the ablest of our countrymen. Q. Lu- 
cilius Balbus was likewise there, a great proficient in the 
doctrine of the Stoics, and esteemed equal to the most em- 
inent of the Greeks in that part of knowledge. As soon 
as Cotta saw me, You are come, says he, very seasonably ; 
for I am having a dispute with Velleius on an important 
subject, which, considering the nature of your studies, is 
not improper for you to join in. 

VII. Indeed, says I, I think I am come very seasonably, 
as you say; for here are three chiefs of three principal 
sects met together. If M. Piso’ was present, no sect of 
philosophy that is in any esteem would want an advocate. 
If Antiochus’s book, replies Cotta, which he lately sent to 
Balbus, says true, you have no occasion to wish for your 
friend Piso; for Antiochus is of the opinion that the Sto- 
ics do not differ from the Peripatetics in fact, though they 
do in words; and I should be glad to know what you think 
of that book, Balbus. I? says he. I wonder that Anti- 
ochus, a man of the clearest apprehension, should not see 
what a vast difference there is between the Stoics, who 
distinguish the honest and the profitable, not only in name, 
but absolutely in kind, and the Peripatetics, who blend the 
honest with the profitable in such a manner that they dif- 
fer only in degrees and proportion, and not in kind. This 
is not a little difference in words, but a great one in things; 

eo, NI Bm a 

1 The Latinz Feris was originally a festival of the Latins, altered by 
Tarquinius Superbus into a Roman one. It was held in the Alban 
Mount, in honor of Jupiter Latiaris. This holiday lasted six days: it 
was not held at any fixed time; but the consul was never allowed to 
take the field till he had held them.— Vide Smith, Dict. Gr. and Rom. 
Ant., p. 414. 

® Exhedra, the word used by Cicero, means a study, or place where dis- 
putes were held. 

* M. Piso was a Peripatetic. The four great sects were the Stoics, the 
Peripatetics, the Academics, and the Epicureans, 


but of this hereafter. Now, if you think fit, let us return 
to what we began with. 

With all my heart, says Cotta. But that this visitor 
(looking at me), who is just come in, may not be ignorant 
of what we are upon, I will inform him that we were dis- 
coursing on the nature of the Gods; concerning which, as 
it is a subject that always appeared very obscure to me, I 
prevailed on Velleius to give us the sentiments of Epicu- 
rus. Therefore, continues he, if it is not troublesome, Vel- 
leius, repeat what you have already stated to us. I will, 
says he, though this new-comer will be no advocate for 
me, but for you; for you have both, adds he, with a smile, 
learned from the same Philo to be certain of nothing.’ 
What we have learned from him, replied I, Cotta will dis- 
cover; but I would not have you think I am come as an 
assistant to him, but as an auditor, with an impartial and 
unbiassed mind, and not bound by any obligation to de- 
fend any particular principle, whether | like or dislike it. 

VIII. After this, Velleius, with the confidence peculiar 
to his sect, dreading nothing so much as to seem to doubt 
of anything, began as if he had just then descended from 
the council of the Gods, and Epicurus’s intervals of worlds. 
Do not attend, says he, to these idle and imaginary tales ; 
nor to the operator and builder of the World, the God 
of Plato’s Timzus; nor to the old prophetic dame, the 
IIpévora of the Stoics, which the Latins call Providence; 
nor to that round, that burning, revolving deity, the World, 
endowed with sense and understanding ; the prodigies and 
wonders, not of inquisitive philosophers, but of dreamers! 

For with what eyes of the mind was your Plato able to 
see that workhouse of such stupendous toil, in which he 
makes the world to be modelled and built by God? What 
materials, what tools, what bars, what machines, what ser- 
vants, were employed in so vast a work? ~How could the 
air, fire, water, and earth pay obedience and submit to the 
will of the architect? From whence arose those five 
forms,’ of which the rest were composed, so aptly con- 
tributing to frame the mind and produce the senses? It 

? It was a prevailing tenet of the Academics that there is no certain 

_ ? The five forms of Plato are these: ovoia, rabrév, érepov, ordouc, Kivgotc. 


is tedious to go through all, as they are of such a sort that 
they look more like things to be desired than to be dis- 

But, what is more remarkable, he gives us a world which 
Aas been not only created, but, if I may so say, in a manner 
formed with hands, and yet he says it is eternal. Do you 
conceive him to have the least skill in natural philosophy 
who is capable of thinking anything to be everlasting that 
had a beginning? For what can possibly ever have been 
put together which cannot be,dissolved again? Or what 
is there that had a beginning which will not have an end? 
If your Providence, Lucilius, is the same as Plato’s God, I 
ask you, as before, who were the assistants, what were the 
engines, what was the plan and preparation of the whole 
work? If it is not the same, then why did she make the 
world mortal, and not everlasting, like Plato’s God ? 

IX. But I would demand of you both, why these world- 
builders started up so suddenly, and lay dormant for so 
many ages? For we are not to conclude that, if there 
was no world, there were therefore no ages. I do not now 
speak of such ages as are finished by a certain number of 
days and nights in annual courses; for I acknowledge 
that those could not be without the revolution of the 
world; but there was a certain eternity from infinite time, 
not measured by any circumscription of seasons; but 
how that was in space we cannot understand, because we 
cannot possibly have even the slightest idea of time before 
time was. I desire, therefore, to know, Balbus, why this 
Providence of yours was idle for such an immense space 
of time? Did she avoid labor? But that could have no 
effect on the Deity; nor could there be any labor, since 
all nature, air, fire, earth, and water would obey the di- 
vine essence. What was it that incited the Deity to act 
the part of an zdile, to illuminate and decorate the world? 
If it was in order that God might be the better accommo- 
dated in his habitation, then he must have been dwelling 
an infinite length of time before in darkness as in a dun- 
geon. But do we imagine that he was afterward delighted 
with that variety with which we see the heaven and earth 
adorned? What entertainment could that be to the Deity? 
If it was any, he would not have been without it so long. 



Or were these things made, as you almost assert, by 
God for the sake of men? Was it for the wise? If so, 
then this great design was adopted for the sake of a very 
small number. Or. for the sake of fools? First of all, 
there was no reason why God should consult the advan- 
tage of the wicked; and, further, what could be his object 
in doing so, since all fools are, without doubt, the most 
miserable of .men, chiefly because they are fools? For 
what can we pronounce more deplorable than folly? Be- 
sides, there are many inegnveniences in life which the 
wise can learn to think lightly of by dwelling rather on. 
the advantages which they receive; but which fools are 
unable to avoid when they are coming, or to bear when 
they are come. 

X. They who affirm the world to be an animated and 
intelligent being have by no means discovered the nature 
of the mind, nor are able. to conceive in what form that 
essence can exist; but of that I shall speak more hereaf- 
ter, At present I must surprise at the weak- 
ness of those who endeavor to make it out to be not only~ 
animated and immortal, but likewise happy, and round, 
because Plato says that is the most beautiful form; where- 
as I think a cylinder, a square, a cone, or a pyramid more 
beautiful. But what life do they attribute to that round 
Deity? Truly it is a being whirled about with a celerity 
to which nothing can be even conceived by the imagina- 
tion as equal; nor can I imagine how a settled mind and 
happy life can consist in such motion, the least degree of 
which would be troublesome to us. Why, therefore, should 
it not be considered troublesome also to the Deity? For 
the earth itself, as it is part of the world, is part also of the 
Deity.. We. see vast tracts of land barren and uninhabi- 
table; some, because they are scorched by the too, near 
approach of the sun; others, because they are bound up 
with frost and snow, through the great distance which the 
sun is from them. Therefore, if the world is a Deity, as 
these are parts of, the world, some of, the Deity’s limbs 
must be said to be scorched, and some frozen. 

_ These are your doctrines, Lucilius; but what those of 
others are I will endeavor to. ascertain by tracing them 
back from the earliest of ancient philosophers. Thales 


the Milesian, who first inquired after such subjects, assert- 
ed water to be the origin of things, and that God was that 
mind which formed all things from water. If the Gods 
can exist without corporeal sense, and if there can be a 
mind without a body, why did he annex a mind to water? 

It was Anaximander’s opinion that the Gods were 
born; that after a great length of time they died; and 
that they are innumerable worlds. But what conception 
can we possibly have of a Deity who is not eternal? 

Anaximenes, after him, taught that the air is God, and 
that he was generated, and that he is immense, infinite, 
and always in motion; as if air, which has no form, could 
possibly be God; for the Deity must necessarily be not 
only of some form or other, but of the most beautiful 
form. Besides, is not everything that had a beginning 
subject to mortality ? 

XI. Anaxagoras, who received his learning from Anax- 
imenes, was the first who affirmed the system and dispo- 
sition of all things to be contrived and perfected by the 
power and reason of an infinite mind; in which infinity he 
did not perceive that there could be no conjunction of 
sense and motion, nor any sense in the least degree, where 
nature herself could feel no impulse. If he would have 
this mind to be a sort of animal, then there must be some 
more internal principle from whence that animal should 
receive its appellation. But what can be more internal 
than the mind? Let it, therefore, be clothed with an ex- 
ternal body. But this is not agreeable to his doctrine; 
but we are utterly unable to conceive how a pure simple 
mind can exist without any substance annexed to it. 

Alemeon of Crotona, in attributing a divinity to the 
sun, the moon, and the rest of the stars, and also to the 
mind, did not perceive that he was ascribing immortality 
to mortal beings. 

Pythagoras, who supposed the Deity to be one soul, 
mixing with and pervading all nature, from which our 
souls are taken, did not consider that the Deity himself _ 
must, in consequence of this doctrine, be maimed and torn 
with the rending every human soul from it; nor that, 
when the human mind is afflicted (as is the. case in many 
instances), that part of the Deity must likewise be afflicted, 


which cannot be. If the human mind were a Deity, how 
could it be ignorant of any thing? Besides, how could 
that Deity, if it is nothing but soul, be mixed with, or in- 
fused into, the world ? 

Then Xenophanes, who said that everything in the 
world which had any existence, with the addition of intel- 
lect, was God, is as liable to exception as the rest, especial- 
ly in relation to the infinity of it, in which there can be 
nothing sentient, nothing composite. 

Parmenides formed a conceit to himself of something 
circular like a crown. (He names it Stephane.) It is an 
orb of constant light and heat around the heavens; this 
he calls God; in which there is no room to imagine any 
divine form or sense. And he uttered many other absurd- 
ities on the same subject; for he ascribed a divinity to 
war, to discord, to lust, and other passions of the same 
kind, which are destroyed by disease, or sleep, or oblivion, 
or age. The same honor he gives to the stars; but I shall 
forbear making any objections to his system here, having 
already done it in another place. 

XII. Empedocles, who erred in many things, is most 
grossly mistaken in his notion of the Gods. He lays - 
down four natures’ as divine, from which he thinks that 
all things were made. Yet it is evident that they have a be- 
ginning, that they decay, and that they are void of all sense. 

Protagoras did not seem to have any idea of the real 
nature of the Gods; for he acknowledged that he was al- 
together ignorant whether there are or are not any, or 
what they are. 

What shall I say of Democritus, who classes our images 
of objects, and their orbs, in the number of the Gods; as 
he does that principle through which those images appear 
and have their influence? He deifies likewise our knowl- 
edge and understanding. Is he not involved in a very 
great error? And because nothing continues always in 
the same state, he denies that anything is everlasting, does 
he not thereby entirely destroy the Deity, and make it im- 
possible to form any opinion of him? 

? The four natures here to be understood are the four elements—fire, 

water, air, and earth; which are mentioned as the four principles of 
Empedocles by Diogenes Laertius. 


Diogenes of Apollonia looks upon the air to be a Deity. 
But what sense can the air have? or what divine form 
can be attributed to it? 

It would be tedious to show the uncertainty of Plato’s 
opinion; for, in his Timzeus, he denies the propriety of as- 
serting that there is one great father or creator of the 
world; and, in his book of Laws, he thinks we ought not 
to make too strict an inquiry into the nature of the Deity. 
And as for his statement when he asserts that God is a 
being without any body—what the Greeks call do#paroc— 
it is certai i intelligi ory can pos- 

Wise asserts in his Timzus, and in his Laws, that the world, 
the heavens, the stars, the mind, and those Gods which are 
delivered down to us from our ancestors, constitute the 
Deity. These opinions, taken separately, are apparently 
false; and, together, are directly inconsistent with each 

Xenophon has committed almost the same mistakes, 
but in fewer words. In those sayings which he has related 
of Socrates, he introduces him disputing the lawfulness of 
inquiring into the form of the Deity, and makes him assert 
the sun and the mind to be Deities: he represents him 
likewise as affirming the being of one God only, and at an- 
other time of many; which are errors of almost the same 
kind which I before took notice of in Plato. 

XIII. Antisthenes, in his book called the Natural Phi- 
losopher, says that there are many national and one nat- 
ural Deity; but by this saying he destroys the power and 
nature of the Gods. Speusippus is not much less in the 
wrong; who, following his uncle Plato, says that a certain 
incorporeal power governs everything; by which he en- 
deavors to root out of our minds the knowledge of the 
Gods. . 

Aristotle, in his third book of Philosophy, confounds 
many things together, as the rest have done; but he does 
not differ from his master Plato. At one time he attrib- 
utes all divinity to the mind, at another he asserts that the 
world is God. Soon afterward he makes some other es- 


sence preside over the world, and gives it those faculties 
by which, with certain revolutions, he may govern and 
preserve the motion of it. Then he asserts the heat of the 
firmament to be God; not perceiving the firmament to be 
part of the world, which in another place he had described 
as God. How can that divine sense of the firmament be 
preserved in so rapid a motion? And where do the mul- 
titude of Gods dwell, if heaven itself is a Deity? But 
when this philosopher says that God is without a body, 
he makes him an irrational and insensible being. Besides, 
how can the world move itself, if it wants a body? Or 
how, if it is in perpetual self-motion, can it be easy and 

Xenocrates, his fellow-pupil, does not appear much wiser 
on this head, for in his books concerning the nature of the 
Gods no divine form is described; but he says the num- 
ber of them is eight. Five are moving planets;’ the sixth 
is contained in all the fixed stars; which, dispersed, are so 
many several members, but, considered together, are one 
single Deity; the seventh is the sun; and the eighth the 
moon. But in what sense they can possibly be happy is 
not easy to be understood. 

From the same school of Plato, Heraclides of Pontus 
stuffed his books with puerile tales. Sometimes he thinks 
the world a Deity, at other times the mind. He attributes 
divinity likewise to the wandering stars. He deprives the 
Deity of sense, and makes his form mutable; and, in the 
same book again, he makes earth and heaven Deities. 

The unsteadiness of Theophrastus is equally intolerable. 
At one time he attributes a divine prerogative to the mind; 
at another, to the firmament; at another, to the stars and 
celestial constellations. | 
' Nor is his disciple Strato, who is called the naturalist, 
any more worthy to be regarded; for he thinks that the 
divine power is diffused through nature, which is the cause 
of birth, increase, and diminution, but that it has no sense 
nor form. 

XIV. Zeno (to come to your sect, Balbus) thinks the 
law of nature to be the divinity, and that it has the power 

? These five moving stars are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and 
Venus. Their revolutions are considered in the next book. 


to force us to what is right, and to restrain us from what 
is wrong. How this law can be an animated being I can- 
not conceive; but that God is so we would certainly main- 
tain. The same person says, in another place, that the sky 
is God; but can we possibly conceive that God is a being 
insensible, deaf to our prayers, our wishes, and our vows, 
and wholly unconnected with us? In other books he 
thinks there is a certain rational essence pervading all nat- 
ure, indued with divine efficacy. He attributes the same 
power to the stars, to the years, to the months, and to the 
seasons. In his interpretation of Hesiod’s Theogony,’ he 
entirely destroys the established notions of the Gods; for 
he excludes Jupiter, Juno, and Vesta, and those esteemed 
divine, from the number of them; but his doctrine is that 
these are names which by some kind of allusion are given 
to mute and inanimate beings. The sentiments of his dis- 
ciple Aristo are not less erroneous. He thought it impos- 
sible to conceive the form of the Deity, and asserts that 
the Gods are destitute of sense; and he is entirely dubi- 
ous whether the Deity is an animated being or not. 

' Cleanthes, who next comes under my notice, a disciple 
of Zeno at the same time with Aristo, in one place says 
that the world is God; in another, he attributes divinity 
to the mind and spirit of universal nature; then he asserts 
that the most remote, the highest, the all-surrounding, the 
all-enclosing and embracing heat, which is called the sky, 
is most certainly the Deity. In the books he wrote against 
pleasure, in which he seems to be raving, he imagines the 
Gods to have a certain form and shape; then he ascribes 
all divinity to the stars ; and, lastly, he thinks nothing more 
divine than reason. So that this God, whom we know 
mentally and in the speculations of our minds, from which 
traces we receive our impression, has at last: actually no 
visible form at all. 

XV. Perseus, another disciple of Zeno, says that they 
who have made discoveries advantageous to the life of man 
should be esteemed as Gods; and the very things, he says, 
which are healthful and beneficial have derived their names 
from those of the Gods; so that he thinks it not sufficient 
to call them the discoveries of Gods, but he urges that they 

Or, Generation of the Gods. 


themselves should be deemed divine. What can be more 
absurd than to ascribe divine honors to sordid and deformed 
things; gr to place among the Gods men who are dead and 
mixed with the dust, to whose memory all the respect that 
could be paid would be but mourning for their loss? 

Chrysippus, who is looked upon as the most subtle in- 
terpreter of the dreams of the Stoics, has mustered up a 
numerous band of unknown Gods; and so unknown that 
we are not able to form any idea about them, though our 
mind seems capable of framing any image to itself in its 
thoughts. For he says that the divine power is placed in 
reason, and in the spirit and mind of universal nature; that 
the world, with a universal effusion of its spirit, is God; 
that the superior part of that spirit, which is the mind and 
reason, is the great principle of nature, containing and pre- 
serving the chain of all things; that the divinity is the 
power of fate, and the necessity. of future events. He dei- 
fies fire also, and what I before called the ethereal spirit, © 
and those elements which naturally proceed from it—wa- 
ter, earth, and air. He attributes divinity to the sun, moon, 
stars, and universal space, the grand container of all things, 
and to those men likewise who have obtained immortality. 
He maintains the sky to be what men call Jupiter; the 
air, which pervades the sea, to be Neptune; and the earth, 
Ceres. In like manner he goes through the names of the 
other Deities. He says that Jupiter is that immutable and 
eternal law which guides and directs us in our manners; 
and this he calls fatal necessity, the everlasting verity of 
future events. But none of these are of such a nature as 
to seem to carry any indication of divine virtue in them. 
These are the doctrines contained in his first book of the 
Nature of the Gods. In the second, he endeavors to ac- 
commodate the fables of Orpheus, Muszeus, Hesiod, and 
Homer to what he has advanced in the first, in order 
that the most ancient poets, who never dreamed of these 
things, may seem to have been Stoics. Diogenes the Bab- 
ylonian was a follower of the doctrine of Chrysippus; and 
in that book which he wrote, entitled “A Treatise concern- 
ing Minerva,” he separates the account of Jupiter’s bring- 
ing-forth, and the birth of that virgin, from the fabulous, 
and reduces it to a natural construction. 


XVI. Thus far have I been rather exposing the dreams 
of dotards than giving the opinions of philosophers. Not 
much more absurd than these are the fables of the poets, 
who owe all their power of doing harm to the sweetness 
of their language; who have represented the Gods as 
enraged with anger and inflamed with lust; who have 
brought before our eyes their wars, battles, combats, 
wounds; their hatreds, dissensions, discords, births, deaths, 
complaints, and lamentations; their indulgences in all 
kinds of intemperance; their adulteries; their chains; 
their amours with mortals, and mortals begotten by im- 
mortals. To these idle and ridiculous flights of the poets 
we may add the prodigious stories invented by the Magi, 
and by the Egyptians also, which were of the same nature, 
together with the extravagant notions of the multitude at 
all times, who, from total ignorance of the truth, are al- 
ways fluctuating in uncertainty. 

Now, whoever reflects on the rashness and absurdity of 
these tenets must inevitably entertain the highest respect 
and veneration for Epicurus, and perhaps even rank him 
in the number of those beings who are the subject of this 
dispute; for he alone first founded the idea of the exist- 
ence of the Gods on the impression which nature herself 
hath made on the minds of all men. For what nation, 
what people are there, who have not, without any learning, 
a natural idea, or prenotion, of a Deity? Epicurus calls 
this zpéAnrc; that is, an antecedent conception of the fact 
in the mind, without which nothing can be understood, in- 
quired after, or discoursed on; the force and advantage of 
which reasoning we receive from that celestial volume of 
Epicurus concerning the Rule and Judgment of Things. 

XVII. Here, then, you see the foundation of this ques- 
tion clearly laid; for since it is the constant and universal 
opinion of mankind, independent of education, custom, or 
law, that there are Gods, it must necessarily follow that 
this knowledge is implanted in our minds, or, rather, in- 
nate in us. That opinion respecting which there is a gen- 
eral agreement in universal nature must infallibly be true; 
therefore it must be allowed that there are Gods; for in 
this we have the concurrence, not only of almost all phi- 
losophers, but likewise of the ignorant and illiterate. It 

10* k 


must be also confessed that the point is established that 
we have naturally this idea, as I said before, or prenotion, 
of the existence of the Gods. As new things require new 
names, so that prenotion was called zpéAmtic by Epicurus; 
an appellation never used before. On the same principle 
of reasoning, we think that the Gods are happy and im- 
mortal; for that nature which hath assured us that there 
are Gods has likewise imprinted in our minds the knowl 
edge of their immortality and felicity; and if so, what Ep- 
icurus hath declared in these words is true: “That which 
is eternally happy cannot be burdened with any labor it- 
self, nor can it impose any labor on another; nor can it be 
influenced by resentment or favor: because things which 
are liable to such feelings must be weak and frail.” We 
have said enough to prove that we should worship the 
Gods with piety, and without superstition, if that were the 
only question. 

For the superior and excellent nature of the Gods re- 
quires a pious adoration from men, because it is possessed 
of immortality and the most exalted felicity ; for whatever 
excels has a right to veneration, and all fear of the power 
and anger of the Gods should be banished; for we must 
understand that anger and affection are inconsistent with 
the nature of a happy and immortal being. These appre- 
hensions being removed, no dread of the superior powers 
remains. To confirm this opinion, our curiosity leads us 
to inquire into the form and life and action of the intellect 
and spirit of the Deity. 

XVIII. With regard to his form, we are directed partly 
by nature and partly by reason. All men are told by nat- 
ure that none but a human form can be ascribed to the 
Gods; for under what other image did it ever appear to 
any one either sleeping or waking? and, without having 
recourse to our first notions,’ reason itself declares the 
same; for as it is easy to conceive that the most excellent 
nature, either because of its happiness or immortality, 
should be the most beautiful, what composition of limbs, 
what conformation of lineaments, what form, what aspect, 
can be more beautiful than the human? Your sect, Lu- 
cilius (not like my friend Cotta, who sometimes says one 

? The zpdAnuc of Epicurus, before mentioned, is what he here means. 


thing and sometimes another), when they represent the di- 
vine art and workmanship in the human body, are used to 
describe how very completely each member is formed, not 
only for convenience, but also for beauty. Therefore, if 
the human form excels that of all other animal beings, as 
God himself is an animated being, he must surely be of 
that form which is the most beautiful. Besides, the Gods 
are granted to be perfectly happy; and nobody can be 
happy without virtue, nor can virtue exist where reason is 
not; and reason can reside in none but the human form; 
she Gods, therefore, must be acknowledged to be of hu- 

man form; yet that form is not body, but something like 
body; nor does it contain any blood, but something like 
blood. Though these distinctions were more acutely de- 
vised and more artfully expressed by Epicurus than any 
common capacity can comprehend; yet, depending on 
your understanding, I shall be more brief on the subject 
than otherwise I should be. Epicurus, who not only dis- 
covered and understood the occult and almost hidden se- 
crets of nature, but explained them with ease, teaches that 
the power and nature of the Gods is not to be discerned 
by the senses, but by the mind; nor are they to be con- 
sidered as bodies of any solidity, or reducible to number, 
like those things which, because of their firmness, he calls 
Zrepéuvia ;* but as images, perceived by similitude and 
transition. As infinite kinds of those images result from 
innumerable individuals, and centre in the Gods, our minds 
and understanding are directed towards and fixed with the 
greatest delight on them, in order to comprehend what 
that happy and eternal essence is. 

XIX. Surely the mighty power of the Infinite Being is 
most worthy our great and earnest contemplation; the 
nature of which we must necessarily understand to be 
such that everything in it is made to correspond. complete- 
ly to some other answering part. This is called’ by Epi- 
curus isovouia; that is to say, an equal distribution or even 
disposition of things. From hence he draws: this infer- 

1 Zrepéuvia is the word which Epicurus used to distinguish between 
those objects which are perceptible to sense, and those which are imper- 
ceptible ; as the essence of the Divine Being, and the various operations 
of the divine power. 


ence, that, as there is such a vast multitude of mortals, 
there cannot be a less number of immortals; and if those 
which perish are innumerable, those which are preserved 
ought also to be countless. Your sect, Balbus, frequently 
ask us how the Gods live, and how they pass their time? 
Their life is the most happy, and the most abounding with 
all kinds of blessings, which can be conceived. They do 
nothing. They are embarrassed with no business; nor do 
they perform any work. They rejoice in the possession of 
their own wisdom and virtue. They are satisfied that they 
shall ever enjoy the fulness of eternal pleasures. 

XX. Such a Deity may properly be called happy; but 
yours is a most laborious God. For let us suppose the 
world a Deity—what can be a more uneasy state than, 
without the least cessation, to be whirled about the axle- 
tree of heaven with a surprising celerity? But nothing 
can be happy that is not at ease. Or let us suppose a De- 
ity residing in the world, who directs and governs it, who 
_ preserves the courses of the stars, the changes of the sea- 
sons, and the vicissitudes and orders of things, surveying 
the earth and the sea, aud accommodating them to the ad- 
vantage and necessities of man. Truly this Deity is em- 
barrassed with a very troublesome and laborious office. 
We make a happy life to consist in a tranquillity of mind, 
a perfect freedom from care, and an exemption from all 
employment. The philosopher from whom we received all 
our knowledge has taught us that the world was made by 
nature; that there was no occasion for a workhouse to 
frame it in; and that, though you deny the possibility of 
such a work without divine skill, it is so easy to her, that 
she has made, does make, and will make innumerable 
worlds. But, because you do not conceive that nature is 
able to produce such effects without some rational aid, you 
are forced, like the tragic poets, when you cannot wind up 
your argument in any other way, to have recourse to a 
Deity, whose assistance you would not seek, if you could 
view that vast and unbounded magnitude of regions in all 
parts; where the mind, extending and spreading itself, 
travels so far and wide that it can find no end, no extremi- 
ty to stop at. In this immensity of breadth, length, and 
height, a most boundless company of innumerable atoms 


are fluttering about, which, notwithstanding the interposi- 
tion of a void space, meet and cohere, and continue cling- 
ing to one another; and by this union these modifications 

and forms of things arise, which, in your opinions, could 

not possibly be made without the help of bellows and an- 
vils. Thus you have imposed on us an eternal master, 
whom we must dread day and night. For who can be 
free from fear of a Deity who foresees, regards, and takes 
notice of everything; one who thinks all things his own; 
a curious, ever-busy God ? 

Hence first arose your Eivappévy, as you call it, your fa- 
tal necessity ; so that, whatever happens, you affirm that it 
flows from an eternal chain and continuance of causes. Of 
what value is this philosophy, which, like old women and 
illiterate men, attributes everything to fate? . Then follows 
your payru), in Latin called divinatio, divination; which, 
if we would listen to you, would plunge us into such su- 
perstition that we should fall down and worship your in- 
spectors into sacrifices, your augurs, your soothsayers, your 
prophets, and your fortune-tellers. 

Epicurus having freed us from these terrors and re- 
stored us to liberty, we have no dread of those beings 
whom we have reason to think entirely free from all 
trouble themselves, and who do not impose any on others. 
We pay our adoration, indeed, with piety and reverence 
to that essence which is above all excellence and perfec- 
tion. But I fear my zeal for this doctrine has made me 
too prolix. However,I could not easily leave so eminent 
and important a subject unfinished, though I must confess 
I should rather endeavor to hear than speak so long. 

XXI. Cotta, with his usual courtesy, then began. Vel- 
leius, says he, were it not for something which you have 
advanced, I should have remained silent; for I have often 
observed, as I did just now upon hearing you,that I can- 
not so easily conceive why a proposition is true as why it 
is false. Should you ask me what I take the nature of the 
Gods to be, I should perhaps make no answer. But if 
you should ask whether I think it to be of that nature 
which you have described, I should answer that I was as 
far as possible from agreeing with you. However, before 
I enter on the subject of your discourse and what you. 


have advanced upon it, I will give you my opinion of 
yourself. Your intimate friend, L. Crassus, has been of- 
ten heard by me to say that you were beyond all question 
superior to all our learned Romans; and that few Epicu- 
reans in Greece were to. be compared to you. But as I 
knew what a wonderful esteem he had for you, I imagined 
that might’ make him the more lavish in commendation 
of you. Now, however, though I do not choose to praise 
any one when present, yet I must confess that I think you 
have delivered your thoughts clearly on an obscure and 
very intricate subject; that you are not only copious in 
your sentiments, but more elegant in your language than 
your sect generally are. When I was at Athens, I went 
often to hear Zeno, by the advice of Philo, who used to 
call him the chief of the Epicureans; partly, probably, in 
order to judge more easily how completely those princi- 
ples could be refuted after I had heard them stated by the 
most learned of the Epicureans. And, indeed, he did not 
speak in any ordinary manner; but, like you, with clear- 
ness, gravity, and elegance; yet what frequently gave me 
great uneasiness when I heard him, as it did while I at- 
tended to you, was to see so excellent a genius falling into 
such frivolous (exctise my freedom), not to say foolish, doc- 
trines. However, I shall not at present offer anything bet- 
ter; for, as I said before, we can in most subjects, especially 
in physics, sooner discover what is not true than what is. 

XXII. If you should ask me what God is, or what his 
character and nature are, I should follow the example of 
Simonides, who, when Hiero the tyrant proposed the same 
question to him, desired a day to consider of it. When he 
required his answer the next day, Simonides begged two 
days more; and as he kept constantly desiring double the 
number which he had required before instead of giving 
his answer, Hiero, with surprise, asked him his meaning 
in doing so: “ Because,” says he, “ the longer I meditate 
on it, the more obscure it appears to me.” Simonides, who 
was not only a delightful poet, but reputed a wise and 
learned man in other branches of knowledge, found, I sup- 
‘pose, so many acute and refined arguments occurring to 
him, that he was doubtful which was the truest, and there- 
: fore despaired of discovering any truth. 


- But does your Epicurus (for I had rather contend with 
him than with you) say anything that is worthy the name 
of philosophy, or even of common-sense ? | 

In the question concerning the nature of the Gods, his 
first inquiry is, whether there are Gods or not. It would 
be dangerous, I believe, to take the negative side before a 
public auditory; but it is very safe in a discourse of this 
kind, and in this company. I, who ama priest, and who 
think that religions and ceremonies ought sacredly to be 
maintained, am certainly desirous to have the existence 
of the Gods, which is the principal point in debate, not 
only fixed in opinion, but proved to a demonstration ; for 
many notions flow into and disturb the mind which some- 
times seem to convince us that there are none. But see 
how candidly I will behave to you: as I shall not touch 
upon those tenets you hold in common with other philoso- 
phers, consequently I shall not dispute the existence of the 
Gods, for that doctrine is agreeable to almost all men, and 
to myself in particular; but I am still at liberty to find 
fault with the reasons you give for it, which I think are 
very insufficient. 

XXIII. You have said that the general assent of men 
of all nations and all degrees is an argument strong enough 
to induce us to acknowledge the being of the Gods. This 
is not only a weak, but a false, argument; for, first of all, 
how do you know the opinions of all nations? I really 
believe there are many people so savage that they have no 
thoughts of a Deity. What think you of Diagoras, who 
was called the atheist; and of Theodorus after him? Did 
not they plainly deny the very essence of a Deity? Pro- 
tagoras of Abdera, whom you just now mentioned, the 
greatest sophist of his age, was banished by order of the 
Athenians from their city and territories, and his books 
were publicly burned, because these words were in the be- 
ginning of his treatise concerning the Gods: “I anvunable 
to arrive at any knowledge whether there are, or are not, 
any Gods.” This treatment of him, I imagine, restrain- 
ed many from professing their disbelief of a Deity, since 
the doubt of it only could not escape punishment. What 
shall we say of the sacrilegious, the impious, and the per- 
jured? If Tubulus Lucius, Lupus, or Carbo the son of 


Neptune, as Lucilius says, had believed that there were 
Gods, would either of them have carried his perjuries and 
impieties to such excess? Your reasoning, therefore, to 
confirm your assertion is not so conclusive as you think it 
is. But as this is the manner in which other philosophers 
have argued on the same subject, I will take no further 
notice of it at present; I rather choose to proceed to what 
is properly your own. 

I allow that there are Gods. Instruct me, then, con- 
cerning their origin; inform me where they are, what sort 
of body, what mind, they have, and what is their course of 
life; for these I am desirous of knowing. You attribute 
the most absolute power and efficacy to atoms. Out of 
them you pretend that everything is made. But there are 
no atoms, for there is nothing without body; every place 
is occupied by body, therefore there can be no such thing 
as @ vacuum or an atom. . 

XXIV. I advance these principles of the naturalists 
without knowing whether they are true or false; yet they 
are more like truth than those statements of yours; for 
they are the absurdities in which Democritus, or before 
him Leucippus, used to indulge, saying that there are cer- 
tain light corpuscles —some smooth, some rough, some 
round, some square, some crooked and bent as bows— 
which by a fortuitous concourse made heaven and earth, 
without the influence of any natural power. This opinion, 
C. Velleius, you have brought down to these our times ; 
and you would sooner be deprived of the greatest advan- 
tages of life than of that authority; for before you were 
acquainted with those tenets, you thought that you ought: 
to profess yourself an Epicurean; so that it was necessa- 
ry that yon should either embrace these absurdities or lose 
the philosophical character which you had taken upon you; 
and what could bribe you to renounce the Epicurean opin- 
ion? Nothing, you say, can prevail on you to forsake the 
truth and the sure means of a happy life. But is that the 
truth? for I shall not contest your happy life, which you 
think the Deity himself does not enjoy unless he languish- 
es in idleness. But where is truth? Is it in your innu- 
merable worlds, some of which are rising, some falling, at 
every moment of time? Or is it in your atomical corpus- 


cles, which form such excellent works without the direc- 
tion of any natural power or reason? But I was forget- 
ting my liberality, which I had promised to exert in your 
case, and exceeding the bounds which I at first proposed 
to myself. Granting, then, everything to be made of atoms, 
what advantage is that to your argument? For we are 
searching after the nature of the Gods; and allowing them 
to be made of atoms, they cannot be eternal, because what- 
ever is made of atoms must have had a beginning: if so, 
there were no Gods till there was this beginning; and if 
the Gods have had a beginning, they must necessarily have 
an end,as you have before contended when you were dis- 
cussing Plato’s world. Where, then, is your beatitude and 
immortality, in which two words you say that God is ex- 
pressed, the endeavor to prove which reduces you to the 
greatest perplexities? For you said that God had no 
body, but something like body; and no blood, but some- 
thing like blood. 

XXY. It is a frequent practice among you, when you 
assert anything that has no resemblance to truth, and wish 
to avoid reprehension, to advance something else which is 
absolutely and utterly impossible, in order that it may seem 
to your adversaries better to grant that point which has 
been a matter of doubt than to keep on pertinaciously con- 
tradicting you on every point: like Epicurus, who, when he 
found that if his atoms were allowed to descend by their 
own weight, our actions could not be in our own power, be- 
cause their motions would be certain and necessary, invent- 
ed an expedient, which escaped Democritus, to avoid neces- 
sity. He says that when the atoms descend by their own 
weight and gravity, they move a little obliquely. Surely, 
to make such an assertion as this is what one ought more 
to be ashamed of than the acknowledging ourselves unable 
to defend the proposition. His practice is the same.against 
the logicians, who say that in all propositions in which yes 
or no is required, one of them must be true; he was afraid 
that if this were granted, then, in such a proposition as 
“ Epicurus will be alive or dead to-morrow,” either one or 
the other must necessarily be admitted; therefore he ab- 
solutely denied the necessity of yes or no. Can anything 


show stupidity in a greater degree? Zeno,’ being pressed 
by Arcesilas, who pronounced all things to be false which 
are perceived by the senses, said that some things were 
false, but not all. Epicurus was afraid that if any one 
thing seen should be false, nothing could be true; and 
therefore he asserted all the senses to be infallible directors 
of truth. Nothing can be more rash than this; for by en- 
deavoring to repel a light stroke, he receives a heavy blow. 
On the subject of the nature of the Gods, he falls into the 
same errors. While he would avoid the concretion of in- 
dividual bodies, lest death and dissolution should be the 
consequence, he denies that the Gods have body, but says 
they have something like body; and says they have no 
blood, but something like blood. 

XXVI. It seems an unaccountable thing how one sooth- 
sayer can refrain from laughing when he sees another. It 
is yet a greater wonder that you can refrain from laughing 
among yourselves. It isno body, but something like body ! 
I could understand this if it were applied to statues made 
of wax or clay; but in regard to the Deity, I am not able 
to discover what is meant by a quasi-body or quasi-blood. 
Nor indeed are you, Velleius, though you will not confess 
so much. For those precepts are delivered to you as dic- 
tates which Epicurus carelessly blundered out; for he 
boasted, as we see in his writings, that he had no instruc- 
tor, which I could easily believe without his public declara- 
tion of it, for the same reason that I could believe the mas- 
ter of a very bad edifice if he were to boast that he had 
no architect but himself: for there is nothing of the Acade- 
my, nothing of the Lyceum, in his doctrine; nothing but 
puerilities:s He might have been a pupil of Xenocrates. 
O ye immortal Gods, what a teacher was he! And there 
are those who believe that he actually was his pupil; but 
he says otherwise, and I shall give more credit to his word 
than to another’s. He confesses that he was a pupil of a 
certain disciple of Plato, one Pamphilus, at Samos; for he 
lived there when he was young, with his father and his 
brothers. His father, Neocles, was a farmer in those parts ; 

? Zeno here mentioned is not the same that Cotta spoke of before. 

This was the founder of the Stoics, The other was an Epicurean phi- 
losopher whom he had heard at Athens. 


but as the farm, I suppose, was not sufficient to maintain 
him, he turned school-master; yet Epicurus treats this Pla- 
tonic philosopher with wonderful contempt, so fearful was 
he that it should be thought he had ever had any instruc- 
tion. But it is well known he had been a pupil of Nau- 
siphanes, the follower of Democritus; and since he could 
not deny it, he loaded him with insults in abundance. If 
he never heard a lecture on these Democritean principles, 
what lectures did he ever hear? What is there in Epi- 
eurus’s physics that is not taken from Democritus? For 
though he altered some things, as what I mentioned before 
of the oblique motions of the atoms, yet most of his doc- 
trines are the same; his atoms—his vacuum—his images 
—infinity of space—innumerable worlds, their rise and de- 
cay—and almost every part of natural learning that he 
treats of. 

Now, do you understand what is meant by quasi-body 
and quasi-blood? For I not only acknowledge that you 
are a better judge of it than I am, but I can bear it with- 
out envy. If any sentiments, indeed, are communicated 
without obscurity; what is there that Velleius can under- 
stand and Cotta not? I know what body is, and what 
blood is; but I cannot possibly find out the meaning of 
quasi-body and quasi-blood. Not that you intentionally 
conceal your principles from me, as Pythagoras did his 
from those who were not his disciples; or that you are in- 
tentionally obscure, like Heraclitus. But the truth is (which 
I may venture to say in this company), you do not under- 
stand them yourself. 

XXVIII. This, I perceive, is what you contend for, that 
the Gods have a certain figure that has nothing concrete, 
nothing solid, nothing of express substance, nothing prom- 
inent in it; but that it is pure, smooth, and transparent. 
Let us suppose the same with the Venus of Cos; which is 
not a body, but the representation of a body; nor is the 
red, which is drawn there and mixed with the white, real 
blood, but a certain resemblance of blood; so in Epicu- 
rus’s Deity there is no real substance, but the resemblance 
of substance. 

Let me take for granted that which is perfectly unin- 
telligible; then tell me what are the lineaments and fig- 


ures of these sketched-out Deities. Here you have plenty 
of arguments by which you would show the Gods to be 
in human form. The first is, that our minds are so an- 
ticipated and prepossessed, that whenever we think of a 
Deity the human shape occurs to us. The next is, that 
as the divine nature excels all things, so it ought to be of 
the most beautiful form, and there is no form more beau- 
tiful than the human; and the third is, that reason cannot 
reside in any other shape. 

First, let us consider each argument separately. You 
seem to me to assume a principle, despotically I may say, 
that has no manner of probability in it. Who was ever 
so blind, in contemplating these subjects, as not to see 
that the Gods were represented in human form, either by 
the particular advice of wise men, who thought by those 
means the more easily to turn the minds of the ignorant 
from a depravity of manners to the worship of the Gods; 
or through superstition, which was the cause of their be- 
lieving that when they were paying adoration to these 
images they were approaching the Gods themselves. These 
conceits were not a little improved by the poets, painters, 
and artificers; for it would not have been very easy to 
represent the Gods planning and executing any work in 
another: form, and perhaps this opinion arose from the 
idea which mankind have of their own beauty. But do 
not you, who are so great an adept in physics, see what a 
soothing flatterer, what a sort of procuress, nature is to 
herself? Do you think there is any creature on the land 
or in the sea that is not highly delighted with its own 
form? If it were not so, why would not a bull become 
enamored of a mare, or a horse of a cow? Do you be- 
lieve an eagle, a lion, or a dolphin prefers any shape to 
its own? If nature, therefore, has instructed us in the 
same manner, that nothing is more beautiful than man, 
what wonder is it that we, for that reason, should imagine 
the Gods are of the human form? Do you suppose if 
beasts were endowed with reason that every one would 
not give the prize of beauty to his own species ? 

XXVIII. Yet, by Hercules (I speak as I think)! though 
I am fond enough of myself, I dare not say that I excel 
in beauty that bull which carried Europa. For the ques- 


tion here is not concerning our genius and elocution, but 
our species and figure. If we could make and assume to 
ourselves any form, would you be unwilling to resemble 
the sea-triton as he is painted supported swimming on 
sea- monsters whose bodies are partly human? Here I 
touch on a difficult point; for so great is the force of nat- 
ure that there is no man who would not choose to be 
like a man, nor, indeed, any ant that would not be like 
an ant. But like what man? For how few can pretend 
to beauty! When I was at Athens, the whole flock of 
youths afforded scarcely one. You laugh,I see; but what 
I tell you is the truth. Nay, to us who, after the exam- 
ples of ancient philosophers, delight in boys, defects are 
often pleasing. Alczeus was charmed with a wart on a 
boy’s knuckle; but a wart is a blemish on the body; yet 
it seemed a beauty to him. Q. Catulus, my friend and 
colleague’s father, was enamored with your fellow-citizen 
Roscius, on whom he wrote these verses: 
~ As once I stood to hail the rising day, 
Roscius appearing on the left I spied : 
Forgive me, Gods, if I presume to say 
The mortal’s beauty with th’ immortal vied. 
Roscius more beautiful than a God! yet he was then, as 
he now is, squint-eyed. But what signifies that, if his de- 
fects were beauties to Catulus ? 

XXIX. I return to the Gods. Can we suppose any of 
them to be squint-eyed, or even to have a cast in the eye? 
Have they any warts? Are any of them hook-nosed, flap- 
eared, beetle-browed, or jolt-headed, as some of us are? 
Or are they free from imperfections? Let us grant you 
that. Are they all alike in the face? For if they are 
many, then one must necessarily be more beautiful than 
another, and then there must be some Deity not absolute- 
ly most beautiful. Or if their faces are all alike; there 
would be an Academy’ in heaven; for if one God does 
not differ from another, there is no possibility of knowing 
or distinguishing them. 

What if your assertion, Velleius, proves absolutely false, 
that no form occurs to us, in our contemplations on the 

! That is, there would be the same uncertainty in heaven as is among 
the Academics. 


Deity, but the human? Will you, notwithstanding that, 
persist in the defence of such an absurdity? Supposing 
that form occurs to us, as you say it does, and we know 
Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Neptune, Vulcan, Apollo, and the 
other Deities, by the countenance which painters and statu- 
aries have given them, and not only by their countenances, 
but by their decorations, their age, and attire; yet the 
Egyptians, the Syrians, and almost all barbarous nations,’ 
are without such distinctions. You may see a greater re- 
gard paid by them to certain beasts than by us to the most 
sacred temples and images of the Gods; for many shrines 
have been rifled, and images of the Deities have been car- 
ried from their most sacred places by us;. but we never 
heard that an Egyptian offered any violence to a croco- 
dile, an ibis, or a cat. What do you think, then?» Do 
not the Egyptians esteem their sacred bull, their Apis, as 
a Deity? Yes, by Hercules! as certainly as you do our 
protectress Juno, whom you never behold, even in your 
dreams, without a goat-skin, a spear, a shield, and broad 
sandals. But the Grecian Juno of Argos and the Roman 
Juno are not represented in this manner; so that the Gre- 
cians, the Lanuvinians, and we, ascribe different forms to 
Juno; and our Capitoline Jupiter is not the same with 
the Jupiter Ammon of the Africans, 

XXX. Therefore, ought not a natura! philosopher—that 
is, an inquirer into the secrets of nature—to be ashamed 
of seeking a testimony to truth from minds prepossessed 
by custom? According to the rule you have laid down, it 
may be said that Jupiter is always bearded, Apollo always 
beardless; that Minerva has gray and Neptune azure eyes; 
and, indeed, we must then honor that Vulcan at Athens, 
made by Alcamenes, whose lameness through his thin robes 
appears to be no deformity. Shall we, therefore, receive a 
lame Deity because we have such an account of him? 

Consider, likewise, that the Gods go by what names we 
give them. Now, in the first place, they have as many 
names as men have languages; for Vulcan is not called 
Vulcan in Italy, Africa, or Spain, as you are called Velle- 
ius in all countries. Besides, the Gods are innumerable, 
though the list of their names is of no great length even 

1 Those nations which were neither Greek nor Roman. 


in the records of our priests. Have they no names? You 
must necessarily confess, indeed, they have none; for what 
occasion is there for different names if their persons are 
alike ? 

How much more laudable would it be, Velleius, to ac- 
knowledge that you do not know what you do not know 
than to follow a man whom you must despise! Do you 
think the Deity is like either me or you? You do not 
really think he is like either of us. What is to be done, 
then? Shall I call the sun, the moon, or the sky a Deity ? 
If so, they are consequently happy. But what pleasures 
can they enjoy? And they are wise too. But how can 
wisdom reside in such shapes? These are your own prin- 
ciples. Therefore, if they are not of human form, as I have 
proved, and if you cannot persuade yourself that they are 
of any other, why are you cautious of denying absolutely 
the being of any Gods? You dare not deny it—which is 
very prudent in you, though here you are not afraid of the 
people, but of the Gods themselves. I have known Epicu- 
reans who reverence’ even the least images of the Gods, 
though I perceive it to be the opinion of some that Epicu- 
tus, through fear of offending against the Athenian laws, 
has allowed a Deity in words and destroyed him in fact; 
so in those his select and short sentences, which are called 
by you xupéac dofa:,’ this, I think, is the first: “ That being 
which is happy and immortal is not burdened with any la- 
bor, and does not impose any on any one else.” 

XXXI. In his statement of this sentence, some think 
that he avoided speaking clearly on purpose, though it was 
manifestly without design. But they judge ill of a man 
who had not the least art. It is doubtful whether he means 
that there is any. being happy and immortal, or that if 
there is any being happy, he must likewise be immortal. 
They do not consider that he speaks here, indeed, ambigu- 
ously; but in many other places both he and Metrodorus 
explain themselves as clearly as you have done. But he 
believed there are Gods; nor have I ever seen any one 

1 Sigilla numerantes is the common reading; but P. Manucius pro- 
poses venerantes, which I choose as the better of the two, and in which 
sense I have translated it. 

? Fundamental doctrines. 


who was more exceedingly afraid of what he declared 
ought to be no objects of fear, namely, death and the Gods, 
with the apprehensions of which the common rank of peo- 
ple are very little affected; but he says that the minds of 
all mortals are terrified by them. Many thousands of men 
commit robberies in the face of death; others rifle all the 
temples they can get into: such as these, no doubt, must 
be greatly terrified, the one by the fears of death, and the 
others by the fear of the Gods. 

But since you dare not (for I am now addressing my 
discourse to Epicurus himself) absolutely deny the exist- 
ence of the Gods, what hinders you from ascribing a di- 
vine nature to the sun, the world, or some eternal mind? 
I never, says he, saw wisdom and a rational soul in any 
but a human form. What! did you ever observe anything 
like the sun, the moon, or the five moving planets? The 
sun, terminating his course in two extreme parts of one 
circle,’ finishes his annualrevolutions. The moon, receiving 
her light from the sun, completes the same course in the 
space of a month.’ The five planets in the same circle, 
some nearer, others more remote from the earth, begin the 
same courses together, and finish them in different spaces 
of time. Did you ever observe anything like this, Epicu- 
rus? So that, according to you, there can be neither sun, 
moon, nor stars, because nothing can exist but what we 
have touched or seen.” What! have you ever seen the 
Deity himself? Why else do you believe there is any? 
If this doctrine prevails, we must reject all that history 
relates or reason discovers; and the people who inhabit 
inland countries must not believe there is such a thing as 
the sea. This is so narrow a way of thinking that if you 
had been born in Seriphus, and never had been from out 
of that island, where you had frequently been in the habit 
of seeing little hares and, foxes, you would not, therefore, 
believe that there are such beasts as lions and panthers; 

1 That is, the zodiac. 
? The moon, as well as the sun, is indeed in the zodiac, but she does 
not measure the same course in a month. She moves in another line of 

- the zodiac nearer the earth. 

® According to the doctrines of Epicurus, none of these bodies them- 
selves are clearly seen, but simulacra ex corporibus effluentia, 


and if any one should describe an elephant to you, you 
would think that he designed to laugh at you. 

XXXII. You indeed, Velleius, have concluded your ar- 
gument, not after the manner of your own sect, but of the 
logicians, to which your people are utter strangers. You 
have taken it for granted that the Gods are happy. I al- 
low it. You say that without virtue no one can be happy. 
I willingly concur with you in this also. You likewise 
say that virtue cannot reside where reason is not. That I 
must necessarily allow. You add, moreover, that reason 
cannot exist but in a human form. Who, do you think, 
will admit that? If it were true, what occasion was there 
to come so gradually to it? Andto what purpose? You 
might have answered it on your own authority. I per- 
ceive your gradations from happiness to virtue, and from 
virtue to reason; but how do you come from reason to 
human form ? There, indeed, you do not descend by de- 
grees, but precipitately. 

Nor can I conceive why Epicurus should rather say the 
Gods are like men than that men are like the Gods. You 
ask what is the difference; for, say you, if this is like that, 
that is like this. I grant it; but this I assert, that the 
Gods could not take their form from men; for the Gods 
always existed, and never had a beginning, if they are to 
exist eternally; but men had a beginning: therefore that 
form, of which the immortal Gods are, must have had ex- 
istence before mankind; consequently, the Gods should 
not be said to be of human form, but our form should be 
called divine. However, let this be as you will. I now 
inquire how this extraordinary good fortune came about; 
for you deny that reason had any share in the formation 
of things. But still, what was this extraordinary fortune? 
Whence proceeded ‘that happy concourse of atoms which 
gave so sudden a rise to men in the form of Gods? Are 
we to suppose the divine seed fell from heaven upon earth, 
and that men sprung up in the likeness of their celestial 
sires? I wish you would assert it; for I should not be 
unwilling to acknowledge my relation to the Gods. But 
you say nothing like it; no, our resemblance to the Gods, 
it seems, was by chance. Must I now seek for argu- 
ments to refute this doctrine seriously? I wish I could 




as easily discover what is true as I can overthrow what 
is false. 

XXXII. You have enumerated with so ready a memory, 
and so copiously, the opinions of philosophers, from Thales 
the Milesian, concerning the nature of the Gods, that I am 
surprised to see so much learning ina Roman. But do 
you think they were all madmen who thought that a Dei- 
ty could by some possibility exist without hands and feet ? 
Does not eyen this consideration have weight with you 
when you consider what is the use and advantage of limbs 
in men, and lead you to admit that the Gods have no need 
of them? What necessity can there be of feet, without 
walking; or of hands, if there is nothing to be grasped? 
The same may be asked of the other parts of the body, in 
which nothing is vain, nothing useless, nothing superflu- 
ous; therefore we may infer that no art can imitate the skill 
of nature. Shall the Deity, then, have a tongue, and not 
speak—teeth, palate, and jaws, though he will have no use 
for them? Shall the members which nature has given to 
the body for the sake of generation be useless to the Deity ? 
Nor would the internal parts be less superfluous than the 
external. What comeliness is there in the heart, the lungs, 
the liver, and the rest of them, abstracted from their use? 
I mention these because you place them in the Deity on 
account of the beauty of the human form. 

Depending on these dreams, not only Epicurus, Metro- 
dorus, and Hermachus declaimed against Pythagoras, Pla- 
to, and Empedocles, but that little harlot Leontium pre- 
sumed to write against Theophrastus: indeed, she had a 

“neat Attic style; but yet, to think of her arguing against 

Theophrastus! So much did the garden of Epicurus’ 
abound with these liberties, and, indeed, you are always 
complaining against them. Zeno wrangled. Why need 
I mention Albutius? Nothing could be more elegant or 
humane than Pheedrus; yet a sharp expression would dis- 
gust the old man. Epicurus treated Aristotle with great 
contumely. He foully slandered Phzedo, the disciple of 
Socrates. He pelted Timocrates, the brother of his com- 
panion Metrodorus, with whole volumes, because he disa- 
greed with him in some trifling point of philosophy. He 

} Epicurus taught his disciples in a garden. 


was ungrateful even to Democritus, whose follower he was; 
and his master Nausiphanes, from whom he learned noth- 
ing, had no better treatment from him. 

XXXIV. Zeno gave abusive language not only to those 
who were then living, as Apollodorus, Syllus, and the rest, 
but he called Socrates, who was the father of philosophy, 
the Attic buffoon, using the Latin word Scurra. He ney- 
er called Chrysippus by any name but Chesippus. And 
you yourself a little before, when you were numbering up 
a senate, as we may call them, of philosophers, scrupled 
not to say that the most eminent men talked like foolish, 
visionary dotards.. Certainly, therefore, if they have all 
erred in regard to the nature of the Gods, it is to be feared 
there are no such beings. What you deliver on that head 
are all whimsical notions, and not worthy the considera- 
tion even of old women. For you do not seem to be in 
the least aware what a task you draw on yourselves, if you 
should prevail on us to grant that the same form is com- 
mon to Gods and men. The Deity would then require 
the same trouble in dressing, and the same care of the 
body, that mankind does. He must walk, run, lie down, 
lean, sit, hold, speak, and discourse. You need not be told 
the consequence of making the Gods male and female. 

Therefore I cannot sufficiently wonder how this chief of 
yours came to entertain these strange opinions. But you 
constantly insist on the certainty of this tenet, that the 
Deity is both happy and immortal. Supposing he is so, 
would his happiness be less perfect if he had not two feet? 
Or cannot that blessedness or beatitude—call it which you 
will (they are both harsh terms, but we must mollify them 
by use)—can it not, I say, exist in that sun, or in this 
world, or in some eternal mind that has not human shape 
or limbs? All you say against it is, that you never saw 
any happiness in the sun or the world. What, then? 
Did you ever see any world but this? No, you will say. 
Why, therefore, do you presume to assert that there are 
not only six hundred thousand worlds, but that they are 
innumerable? Reason tells you so. Will not reason tell 
you likewise that as,in our inquiries into the most excel- 
lent nature, we find none but the divine nature can be hap- 
py and eternal, so the same divine nature surpasses us in 


excellence of mind; and as in mind, so in body? Why, 
therefore, as we are inferior in all other respects, should 
we be equal in form? For human virtue approaches 
nearer to the divinity than human form. 

XXXV. To return to the subject I was upon. What 
can be more childish than to assert that there are no such 
creatures as are generated in the Red Sea or in India? 
The most curious inquirer cannot arrive at the knowledge 
of all those creatures which inhabit the earth, sea, fens, and 
rivers; and shall we deny the existence of them because 
we never saw them? ‘That similitude which you are so 
very fond of is nothing to the purpose. Is not a dog like 
a wolf? And,as Ennius says, 

The monkey, filthiest beast, how like to man! 

Yet they differ in nature. No beast has more sagacity 
than an elephant; yet where can you find any of a larger 
size? Iam speaking here of beasts. But among men, do 
we not see a disparity of manners in persons very much 
alike, and a similitude of manners in persons unlike? If 
this sort of argument were once to prevail, Velleius, ob- 
serve what it would lead to. You have laid it down as 
certain that reason cannot possibly reside in any but the 
human form. Another may affirm that it can exist in none 
but a terrestrial being; in none but a being that is born, 
that grows up, and receives instruction, and that consists 
of a soul, and an infirm and perishable body; in short, in 
none but a mortal man. But if you decline those opinions, 
why should a single form disturb you? You perceive 
that man is possessed of reason and understanding, with 
all the infirmities which I have mentioned interwoven 
with his being; abstracted from which, you nevertheless 
know God, you say, if the lineaments do but remain. 
This is not talking considerately, but at a venture; for 
surely you did not think what an encumbrance anything 
superfluous or useless is, not only in a man, but a tree. 
How troublesome it is to have a finger too much! And 
why so? Because neither use nor ornament requires 
more than five; but your Deity has not only a finger more 
than he wants, but a head, a neck, shoulders, sides, a 
paunch, back, hams, hands, feet, thighs, and legs. Are 


these parts necessary to immortality? Are they condu- 
cive to the existence of the Deity? Is the face itself of 
use? One would rather say so of the brain, the heart, 
the lights, and the liver; for these are the seats of life. 
The features of the face contribute nothing to the preser- 
vation of it. 

XXXVI. You censured those who, beholding those ex- 
cellent and stupendous works, the world, and its respect- 
ive parts—the heaven, the earth, the seas—and the splen- 
dor with which they are adorned; who, contemplating the 
sun, moon, and stars; and who, observing the maturity 
and changes of the seasons, and vicissitudes of times, in- 
ferred from thence that there must be some excellent and 
eminent essence that originally made, and still moves, di- 
rects, and governs them. Suppose they should mistake in 
their conjecture, yet I see what they aim at. But what is 
that great and noble work which appears to you to be the 
effect of a divine mind, and from which you conclude that 
there are Gods? “I have,” say you, “a certain informa- 
tion of a Deity imprinted in my mind.” Of a bearded 
Jupiter, I suppose, and a helmeted Minerva. 

But do you really imagine them to be such? How 
much better are the notions of the ignorant vulgar, who 
not only believe the Deities have members like ours, but 
that they make use of them; and therefore they assign 
them a bow and arrows, a spear, a shield, a trident, and 
lightning; and though they do not behold the actions of 
the Gods, yet they cannot entertain a thought of a Deity 
doing nothing. The Egyptians (so much ridiculed) held 
no beasts to be sacred, except on account of some advan- 
tage which they had received from them. The ibis, a very 
large bird, with strong legs and a horny long beak, de- 
stroys a great number of serpents. These birds keep 
Egypt from pestilential diseases by killing and.devouring 
the flying serpents brought from the deserts of Lybia by 
the south-west wind, which prevents the mischief that 
may attend their biting while alive, or any infection when 
dead. I could speak of the advantage of the ichneumon, 
the crocodile, and the cat; but I am unwilling to be te- 
dious; yet I will conclude with observing that the barba- 
rians paid divine honors to beasts because of the benefits 


they received from them; whereas your Gods not only 
confer no benefit, but are idle, and do no single act of any 
deseription whatever. 

XXXVII. “They have nothing to do,” your teacher 
says. Epicurus truly, like indolent boys, thinks nothing 
_ preferable to idleness; yet those very boys, when they 

have a holiday, entertain themselves in some sportive ex- 
ercise. But we are to suppose the Deity in such an in- 
active state that if he should move we may justly fear 
he would be no longer happy. This doctrine divests the 
Gods of motion and operation; besides, it encourages 
men to be lazy, as they are by this taught to believe that 
the least labor is incompatible even with divine felicity. 

But let it be as you would have it, that the Deity is 
in the form and image of a man. Where is his abode? 
Where is his habitation? Where is the place where he is 
to be found? What is his course of life? And what is 
it that constitutes the happiness which you assert that he 
enjoys? For it seems necessary that a being who is to 
be happy must use and enjoy what belongs to him. And 
with regard to place, even those natures which are inani- 
mate have each their proper stations assigned to them: so 
that the earth is the lowest; then water is next above the 
earth; the air is above the water; and fire has the highest 
situation of all allotted to it. Some creatures inhabit the 
earth, some the water, and some, of an amphibious nature, 
live in. both. There are some, also, which are thought to 
be born in fire, and which often appear fluttering in burn- 
ing furnaces. 

In the first place, therefore, I ask you, Where is the hab- 
itation of your Deity? Secondly, What motive is it that 
stirs him from his place, supposing he ever moves? And, 
lastly, since it is peculiar to animated beings to have an 
inclination to something that is agreeable to their several 
natures, what is it that the Deity affects, and to what pur- 
pose does he exert the motion of his mind and reason? In 
short, how is he happy? how eternal? Whichever of these 
points you touch upon, I am afraid you will come lamely 
off. For there is never a proper end to reasoning which 
proceeds on a false foundation; for you asserted likewise 
that the form of the Deity is perceptible by the mind, but 


not by sense; that it is neither solid, nor invariable in num- 
ber; that it is to be discerned by similitude and transi- 
tion, and that a constant supply of images is perpetually 
flowing on from innumerable atoms, on which our minds 
are intent; so that we from that conclude that divine nat- 
ure to be happy and everlasting. 

XXXVIII. What, in the name of those Deities concern- 
ing whom we are now disputing, is the meaning of all this ? 
For if they exist only in thought, and have no solidity nor 
substance, what difference can there be between thinking 
of a Hippocentaur and thinking of a Deity? Other phi- 
losophers call every such conformation of the mind a vain 
motion; but you term it “the approach and entrance of 
images into the mind.” Thus, when I imagine that I be- 
hold T. Gracchus haranguing the people in the Capitol, 
and collecting their suffrages concerning M. Octavius, I 
call that a vain motion of the mind: but you aflirm that 
the images of Gracchus and Octavius are present, which 
are only conveyed to my mind when they have arrived at 
the Capitol. The case is the same, you say, in regard to 
the Deity, with the frequent representation of which the 
mind is so affected that from thence it may be clearly un- 
derstood that the Gods’ are happy and eternal. 

Let it be granted that there are images by which the 
mind is affected, yet it is only a certain form that occurs; 
and why must that form be pronounced happy? why eter- 
nal? But what are those images you talk of, or whence 
do they proceed? This loose manner of arguing is taken 
from Democritus; but he is reproved by many people for 
it; nor can you derive any conclusions from it: the whole 
system is weak and imperfect. For what can be more im- 
probable than that the images of Homer, Archilochus, Rom- 
ulus, Numa, Pythagoras, and Plato should come into my 
mind, and yet not in the form in which they existed? How, 
therefore, can they be those persons? And whose images 
are they? Aristotle tells us that there never was such a 
person as Orpheus the poet;’ and it is said that the verse 

? By the word Deus, as often used by our author, we are to understand 
all the Gods in that theology then treated of, and not a single personal 

? The best commentators on this passage agree that Cicero does not 


a a a Na ar a 


called Orphic verse was the invention of Cercopsya Pythag- 
orean; yet Orpheus, that is to say, the image of him, as 
you will have it, often runs in my head. What is the rea- 
son that I entertain one idea of the figure of the same per- 
son, and you another? Why do we image to ourselves 
such things as never had any existence, and which never 
can have, such as Scyllas and Chimeras? Why do we 
frame ideas of men, countries, and cities which we never 
saw? How is it that the very first moment that I choose 
I can form representations of them in my mind? How is 
it that they come to me, even in my sleep, without being 
called or sought after ? 

XXXIX. The whole affair, Velleius, is ridiculous. You 
do not impose images on our eyes only, but on our minds. 
Such is the privilege which you have assumed of talking 
nonsense with impunity. But there is, you say, a transi- 
tion of images flowing on in great crowds in such a way 
that out of many some one at least must be perceived! I 
should be ashamed of my incapacity to understand this 
if you, who assert it, could comprehend it yourselves; for 
how do you prove that these images are continued in 
uninterrupted motion? Or, if uninterrupted, still how do 
you prove them to be eternal? There is a constant sup- 
ply, you say, of innumerable atoms. But must they, for 
that reason, be all eternal? To elude this, you have re- 
course to equilibration (for so, with your leave, I will call 
your “Icovopia),' and say that as there is a sort of nature 
mortal, so there must also be a sort which is immortal. 
By the same rule, as there are men mortal, there are men 

immortal; and as some arise from the earth, some must 

arise from the water also; and as there are causes which 
destroy, there must likewise be causes which preserve. Be 
it as you say; but let those causes preserve which have ex- 
istence themselves. I cannot conceive these your Gods to 
have any. But how does all this face of things arise from 
atomic corpuscles? Were there any such atoms (as there 

mean that Aristotle affirmed that there was no such person as Orpheus, 
but*that there was no such poet, and that the verse called Orphic was 
said to be the invention of another. ‘The passage of Aristotle to which 
Cicero here alludes has, as Dr. Davis observes, been long lost. 

’ A just proportion between the different sorts of beings. 


are not), they might perhaps impel one another, and be 
jumbled together in their motion; but they could never 
be able to impart form, or figure, or color, or animation, 
so that you by no means demonstrate the immortality of 
your Deity. 

XL. Let us now inquire into his happiness. It is cer- 
tain that without virtue there can be no happiness; but 
virtue consists in action: now your Deity does nothing; 
therefore he is void of virtue, and consequently cannot be 
happy. What sort of life does he lead? He has a con- 
stant supply, you say, of good things, without any inter- 
mixture of bad. What are those good things? Sensual 
pleasures, no doubt; for you know no delight of the mind 
but what arises from the body, and returns to it. I do not 
suppose, Velleius, that you are like some of the Epicure- 
ans, who are ashamed of those expressions of Epicurus,' 
in which he openly avows that he has no idea of any good 
separate from wanton and obscene pleasures, which, with- 
out a blush, he names distinctly. What food, therefore, 
what drink, what variety of music or flowers, what kind of 
pleasures of touch, what odors, will you offer to the Gods 
to fill them with pleasures? The poets indeed provide 
them with banquets of nectar and ambrosia, and a Hebe 
or a Ganymede to serve up the cup. But what is it, 
Epicurus, that you do for them? For I do not see from 
whence your Deity should have those things, nor how he 
could use them. Therefore the nature of man is better 
constituted for a happy life than the nature of the Gods, 
because men enjoy various kinds of pleasures; but you 
look on all those pleasures as superficial which delight the 
senses only by a titillation, as Epicurus calls it. Where is 
to be the end of this trifling? Even Philo, who followed 
the Academy, could not bear to hear the soft and luscious 
delights of the Epicureans despised; for with his admira- 
ble memory he perfectly remembered and used to repeat 
many sentences of Epicurus in the very words in which 
they were written. He likewise used to quote many, 

1 Some give quos non pudeat earum Epicuri vocum ; but the best cop- 
ies have not non; nor would it be consistent with Cotta to say quos non 
pudeat, for he throughout represents Velleius as a perfect Epicurean in 
every article. 


Se ee Oe eS | eee eninge 


which were more gross, from Metrodorus, the sage col- 
league of Epicurus, who blamed his brother Timocrates 
because he would not allow that everything which had 
any reference to a happy life was to be measured by the 
belly; nor has he said this once only, but often. You grant 
what I say, I perceive; for you know it to be true. I can 
produce the books, if you should deny it; but I am not 
now reproving you for referring all things to the standard 
of pleasure: that is another question. What Iam now 
showing is, that your Gods are destitute of pleasure; and 
therefore, according to your own manner of reasoning, 
they are not happy. 

XLI. But they are free from pain. Is that sufficient 
for beings who are supposed to enjoy all good things and 
the most supreme felicity? The Deity, they say, is con- 
stantly meditating on his own happiness, for he has no 
other idea which can possibly occupy his mind. Consid- 
er a little; reflect what a figure the Deity would make if 
he were to be idly thinking of nothing through all eterni- 
ty but “It is very well with me, and I am happy ;” nor do 

I see why this happy Deity should not fear being destroy- 

ed, since, without any intermission, he is driven and agi- 
tated by an everlasting incursion of atoms, and since im-. 
ages are constantly floating off from him. Your Deity, 
therefore, is neither happy nor eternal. 

Epicurus, it seems, has written books concerning sanc- 
tity and piety towards the Gods. But how does he speak 
on these subjects? You would say that you were listen- 
ing to Coruncanius or Sceevola, the high-priests, and not 
to a man who tore up all religion by the roots, and who 
overthrew the temples and altars of the immortal Gods; 
not, indeed, with hands, like Xerxes, but with arguments; 
for what reason is there for your saying that men ought 
to worship the Gods, when the Gods not only do not re- 
gard men, but are entirely careless of everything, and ab- 
solutely do nothing at all? 

But they are, you say, of so glorious and excellent a 
nature that a wise man is induced by their excellence to 
adore them. Can there be any glory or excellence in that 
nature which only contemplates its own happiness, and 
neither will do, nor does, nor ever did anything? Besides, 

erent ny 


what piety is due to a being from whom you receive noth- 
ing? Or how can you, or any one else, be indebted to 
him who bestows no benefits? For piety is only justice 
towards the Gods; but what right have they to it, when 
there is no communication whatever between the Gods 
and men? And sanctity is the knowledge of how we 
ought to worship them; but I do not understand why 
they are to be worshipped, if we are neither to receive 
nor expect any good from them. 

XLII. And why should we worship them from an ad- 
miration only of that nature in which we can behold noth- 
ing excellent? and as for that freedom from superstition, 
which you are in the habit of boasting of so much, it is 
easy to be free from that feeling when you have re- 
nounced all belief in the power of the Gods; unless, in- 
deed, you imagine that Diagoras or Theodorus, who ab- 
solutely denied the being of the Gods, could possibly be 
superstitious. I do not suppose that even Protagoras 
could, who doubted whether there were Gods or not. 
The opinions of these philosophers are not only destructive 
of superstition, which arises from a vain fear of the Gods, 
but of religion also, which consists in a pious adoration 
of them. 

What think you of those who have asserted that the 
whole doctrine concerning the immortal Gods was the in- 
vention of politicians, whose view was to govern that part 
of the community by religion which reason could not in- 
fluence? Are not their opinions subversive of all relig- 
ion? Or what religion did Prodicus the Chian leave to 
men, who held that everything beneficial to human life 
should be numbered among the Gods? Were not they 
likewise void of religion who taught that the Deities, at 
present the object of our prayers and adoration, were val- 
iant, illustrious, and mighty men who arose’ to divinity 
after death? Euhemerus, whom our Ennius translated, . 
and followed more than other authors, has particularly 
advanced this doctrine, and treated of the deaths and 
burials of the Gods; can he, then, be said to have con- 
firmed religion, or, rather, to have totally subverted it? 
I shall say nothing of that sacred and august Eleusina, 
into whose mysteries the most distant nations were initi- 


ated, nor of the solemnities in Samothrace, or in Lemnos, 
secretly resorted to by night, and surrounded by thick 
and shady groves; which, if they were properly explain- 
ed, and reduced to reasonable principles, would rather ex- 
plain the nature of things than discover the knowledge of 
the Gods. 

XLII. Even that great man Democritus, from whose 
fountains Epicurus watered his little garden, seems to me 
to be very inferior to his usual acuteness when speaking 
about the nature of the Gods. For at one time he thinks 
that there are images endowed with divinity, inherent in 
the universality of things; at another, that the principles 
and minds contained in the universe are Gods; then he 
attributes divinity to animated images, employing them- 
selves in doing us good or harm; and, lastly, he speaks of 
certain images of such vast extent that they encompass 
the whole outside of the universe; all which opinions are 
more worthy of the country’ of Democritus than of De- 
mocritus himself; for who can frame in his mind any ideas 
of such images? who can admire them? who can think 
they merit a religious adoration? 

But Epicurus, when he divests the Gods of the power 
of doing good, extirpates all religion from the minds of 
men; for though he says the divine nature is the best and 
the most excellent of all natures, he will not allow it to 
be susceptible of any benevolence, by which he destroys 
the chief and peculiar attribute of the most perfect being. 
For what is better and more excellent than goodness and 
beneficence? To refuse your Gods that quality is to say 
that no man is any object of their favor, and no Gods 
either; that they neither love nor esteem any one; in 
short, that they not only give themselves no trouble about 
us, but even look on each other with the greatest indif- 

XLIV. How much more reasonable is the doctrine of 
the Stoics, whom you censure? It is one of their maxims 
that the wise are friends to the wise, though unknown to 
each other; for as nothing is more amiable than virtue, he 
who possesses it is worthy our love, to whatever country 

* His country was Abdera, the natives of which were remarkable for 
their stupidity. 


he belongs. But what evils do your principles bring, when 
you make good actions and benevolence the marks of im- 
becility! For, not to mention the power and nature of 
the Gods, you hold that even men, if they had no need of 
mutual assistance, would be neither courteous nor benefi- 
cent. Is there no natural charity in the dispositions of 
good men? The very name of love, from which friend- 
ship is derived, is dear to men;’ and if friendship is to 
centre in our own advantage only, without regard to him 
whom we esteem a friend, it cannot be called friendship, 
but a sort of traffic for our own profit. Pastures, lands, 
and herds of cattle are valued in the same manner on 
account of the profit we gather from them; but charity 
and friendship expect no return. How much more reason 
have we to think that the Gods, who want nothing, should 
love each other, and employ themselves about us! If it 
were not so, why should we pray to or adore them? Why 
do the priests preside over the altars, and the augurs over 
the auspices? What have we to ask of the Gods, and why 
do we prefer our vows to them ? 

But Epicurus, you say, has written a book concerning 
sanctity. A trifling performance by a man whose wit is 
not so remarkable in it, as the unrestrained license of writ- 
ing which he has permitted himself; for what sanctity can 
there be if the Gods take no care of human affairs? Or 
how can that nature be called animated which neither re- 
gards nor performs anything? Therefore our friend Pos- 
idonius has well observed, in his fifth book of the Nature 
of the Gods, that Epicurus believed there were no Gods, 
and that what he had said about the immortal Gods was 
only said from a desire to avoid unpopularity. He could 
not be so weak as to imagine that the Deity has only the 
outward features of a simple mortal, without any real so- 
lidity ; that he has all the members of a man, without the 
least power to use them—a certain unsubstantial pellucid 
being, neither favorable nor beneficial to any one, neither 
regarding nor doing anything. There can be no such*be- 
ing in nature; and as Epicurus said this plainly, he allows 

1 This passage will not admit of a translation answerable to the sense 

of the original. Cicero says the word amicitia (friendship) is derived 
from amor (love or affection). 


the Gods in words, and destroys them in fact; and if the 
Deity is truly such a being that he shows no favor, no be- 
nevolence to mankind, away with him! For why should 
I entreat him to be propitious? He can be propitious to 
none, since, as you say, all his favor and benevolence are 
the effects of imbecility. 


I. Wuen Cotta had thus concluded, Velleius replied: I 
certainly was inconsiderate to engage in argument with an 
Academician who is likewise a rhetorician. I should not 
have feared an Academician without eloquence, nor a 
rhetorician without that philosophy, however eloquent he 
might be; for I am never puzzled by an empty flow of 
words, nor by the most subtle reasonings delivered with- 
out any grace of oratory. But you, Cotta, have excelled 
in both. You only wanted the assembly and the judges. 
However, enough of this at present. Now, let us hear 
what Lucilius has to say, if it is agreeable to him. 

I had much rather, says Balbus, hear Cotta resume his 
discourse, and demonstrate the true Gods with the same 
eloquence which he made use of to explode the false; for, 
on such a subject, the loose, unsettled doctrine of the 
Academy does not become a philosopher, a priest, a Cot- 
ta, whose opinions should be, like those we hold, firm 
and certain. Epicurus has been more than sufliciently 
refuted ; but I would willingly hear your own sentiments, 

Do you forget, replies Cotta, what I at first said—that it 
is easier for me, especially on this point, to explain what 
opinions those are which I do not hold, rather than what 
those are which I do? Nay, even if I did feel some cer- 
tafnty on any particular point, yet, after having been so 
diffuse myself already, I would prefer now hearing you 
speak in your turn. I submit, says Balbus, and will be as 
brief as I possibly can; for as you have confuted the er- 
rors of Epicurus, my part in the dispute will be the short- 


er. Our sect divide the whole question concerning the 
immortal Gods into four parts. First, they prove that 
there are Gods; secondly, of what character and nature 
they are; thirdly, that the universe is governed by them; 
and, lastly, that they exercise a superintendence over hu- 
man affairs. But in this present discussion let us confine 
ourselves to the first two articles, and defer the third and 
fourth till another opportunity, as they require more time 
to discuss. By no means, says Cotta, for we have time 
enough on our hands; besides that, we are now discuss- 
ing a subject which should be preferred even to serious 

II. The first point, then, says Lucilius, I think needs no 
discourse to prove it; for what can be so plain and evi- 
dent, when we behold the heavens and contemplate the 
celestial bodies, as the existence of some supreme, divine 
intelligence, by which all these things are governed? 
Were it otherwise, Ennius would not, with a universal ap- 
probation, have said, 

Look up to the refulgent heaven above, 
Which all men call, unanimously, Jove. 

This is Jupiter, the governor of the world, who rules all 
things with his nod, and is, as the same Ennius adds, 

—— of Gods and men the sire,? 

an omnipresent and omnipotent God. And if any one 
doubts this, I really do not understand why the same man 
may not also doubt whether there is a sun or not. For 
what can possibly be more evident than this? And if it 
_ were not a truth universally impressed on the minds of 
men, the belief in it would never have been so firm; nor 
would it have been, as it is, increased by length of year S, 
nor would it have gathered strength and stability through 
every age. And, in truth, we see that other opinions, being 
false and groundless, have already fallen into oblivion by 
lapse of time. Who now believes in Hippocentaurs and 

? This manner of speaking of Jupiter frequently occurs in Homer, 
—— ratip avipmv te Oemy Te, 

and has been used by Virgil and other poets since Ennius. 


Chimeras? Or what old woman is now to be found so 
weak and ignorant as to stand in fear of those infernal 
monsters which once so terrified mankind? For time de- 
stroys the fictions of error and opinion, while it confirms 
the determinations of nature and of truth. And therefore 
it is that, both among us and among other nations, sacred 
institutions and the divine worship ‘of the Gods have been 
strengthened and improved from time to time. And this 
is not to be imputed to chance or folly, but to the frequent 
appearance of the Gods themselves. In the war with the 
Latins, when A. Posthumius, the dictator, attacked Octa- 
vius Mamilius, the Tusculan, at Regillus, Castor and Pol- 
lux were seen fighting in our army on horseback; and 
since that the same offspring of T'yndarus gave notice of 
the defeat of Perses; for as P. Vatienus, the grandfather 
of the present young man of that name, was coming in the 
night to Rome from his government of Reate, two young 
men on white horses appeared to him, and told him that 
King’ Perses was that day taken prisoner. This news he 
carried to the senate, who immediately threw him into 
prison for speaking inconsiderately on a state affair; but 
when it was confirmed by letters from Paullus, he was 
recompensed by the senate with land and immunities? 
Nor do we forget when the Locrians defeated the people 
of Crotone, in a great battle on the banks of the river 
Sagra, that it was known the same day at the Olym- 
pic Games. The voices of the Fauns have been often 
heard, and Deities have appeared in forms so visible 
that they have compelled every one who is not sense- 
less, or hardened in impiety, to confess the presence of the 

III. What do predictions and foreknowledge of future 
events indicate, but that such future events are shown, 
pointed out, portended, and foretold to men? From 
whence they are called omens, signs, portents, prodigies. 
But though we should esteem fabulous what is said of 

1 Perses, or Perseus, the last king of Macedonia, was taken by 
Cneeus Octavius, the praetor, and brought as prisoner to Paullus Amil- 
ius, 167 B.c. 

? An exemption from serving in the wars, and from paying public 


Mopsus,’ Tiresias,? Amphiaraus,’ Calchas,* and Helenus’® 
(who would not have been delivered down to us as augurs 
even in fable if their art had been despised), may we not 
be sufficiently apprised of the power of the Gods by do- 
mestic examples? Will not the temerity of P. Claudius, 
in the first Punic war, affect us? who, when the poultry 
were let out of the coop and would not feed, ordered them 
to be thrown into the water, and, joking even upon the 
Gods, said, with a sneer, “ Let them drink, since they will 
not eat;” which piece of ridicule, being followed by a vic- 
tory over his fleet, cost him many tears, and brought great 
calamity on the Roman people. Did not his colleague 
Junius, in the same war, lose his fleet in a tempest by 
disregarding the auspices? Claudius, therefore, was con- 
demned by the people, and Junius killed himself. Ceelius 
says that P. Flaminius, from his neglect of religion, fell at 
Thrasimenus; a loss which the public severely felt. By 
these instances of calamity we may be assured that Rome 
owes her grandeur and success to the conduct of those 
who were tenacious of their religious duties; and if we 
compare ourselves to our neighbors, we shail find that we 
are infinitely distinguished above foreign nations by our 
zeal for religious ceremonies, though in other things we 
may be only equal to them, and in other respects even in- 
ferior to them. 

Ought we to confemn Attius Navius’s staff, with which 

1 Mopsus. ‘There were two soothsayers of this name: the first was 
one of the Lapithz, son of Ampycus and Chloris, called also the son of 
Apollo and Hienantis; the other a son of Apollo and Manto, who is 
said to have founded Mallus, in Asia Minor, where his oracle existed as 
late as the time of Strabo. 

® Tiresias was the great Theban prophet at the time of the war of the 
Seven against Thebes. 

* Amphiaraus was King of Argos (he had been one of the Argonauts 
also). He was killed after the war of the Seven against Thebes, which 
he was compelled to join in by the treachery of his wife Eriphyle, by 
the earth opening and swallowing him up as he was fleeing from Peri- 

* Calchas was the prophet of the Grecian army at the siege of Troy. 

5 Helenus was a son of Priam and Hecuba. He is represented as a 
prophet in the Philoctetes of Sophocles. And in the A®neid he is also 
represented as king of part of Epirus, and as predicting to Aineas the 
dangers and fortunes which awaited him. 


he divided the regions of the vine to find his sow?’ I 
should despise it, if I were not aware that King Hostilius 
had carried on most important wars in deference to his 
auguries; but by the negligence of our nobility the disci- 
pline of the augury is now omitted, the truth of the au- 
spices despised, and only a mere form observed; so that 
the most important affairs of the commonwealth, even the 
wars, on which the public safety depends, are conducted 
without any auspices; the Peremnia’ are discussed; no 
part of the Acumina*® performed ; no select men are called 
to witness to the military testaments;* our generals now 
begin their wars as soon as they have arranged the Au- 
spicia. The force of religion was so great among our an- 
cestors that some of their commanders have, with their 
faces veiled, and with the solemn, formal expressions 
of religion, sacrificed themselves to the immortal Gods 
to save their country.° I could mention many of the 
Sibylline prophecies, and many answers of the harus- 
pices, to confirm those things, which ought not to be 

IV. For example: our augurs and the Etrurian harus- 
pices saw the truth of their art established when P. Scipio 
and C. Figulus were consuls; for as Tiberius Gracchus, 
who was a second time consul, wished to proceed to a 

* This short passage would be very obscure to the reader without an 
explanation from another of Cicero’s treatises. The expression here, ad 
investigandum suem regiones vine terminavit, which is a metaphor too 
bold, if it was not a sort of augural language, seems to me to have been 
the effect of carelessness in our great author; for Navius did not divide 
the regions, as he calls them, of the vine to find his sow, but to find a 

* The Peremnia were a sort of auspices performed just before the 
passing a river. 

* The Acumina were a military auspices, and were partly performed 

‘on the point of a spear, from which they were called Acumina. 

* Those were called testamenta in procinctu, which were made by sol- 
diers just before an engagement, in the presence of men called as wit- 

® This especially refers to the Decii, one of whom devoted himself for 
his country in the war with the Latins, 340 B.c., and his son imitated 
the action in the war with the Samnites, 295 B.c. Cicero (Tuse. i. 37) 
says that his son did the same thing in the war with Pyrrhus at the 
battle of Asculum, though in other places (De Off. iii. 4) he speaks of 
only two Decii as having signalized themselves in this manner. 


fresh election, the first Rogator,' as he was collecting the 
suffrages, fell down dead on the spot. Gracchus never- 
theless went on with the assembly, but perceiving that this 
accident had a religious influence on the people, he brought 
‘the affair before the senate. The senate thought fit to 
refer it to those who usually took cognizance of such 
things. The haruspices were called, and declared that the 
man who had acted as Rogator of the assembly had no 
right to do so; to which, as I have heard my father say, 
he replied with great warmth, Have I no right, who am 
consul, and augur, and favored by the Auspicia? And 
shall you, who are Tuscans and Barbarians, pretend that 
you have authority over the Roman Auspicia, and a right 
to give judgment in matters respecting the formality of 
our assemblies? Therefore, he then commanded them to 
withdraw ; but not long afterward he wrote from his prov- 
ince’ to the college of augurs, acknowledging that in read- 
ing the books’ he remembered that he had illegally chosen 
a place for his tent in the gardens of Scipio, and had 
afterward entered the Pomeerium, in order to hold a sen- 
ate, but that in repassing the same Pomeerium he had 
forgotten to take the auspices; and that, therefore, the 
consuls had been created informally. The augurs laid 
the case before the senate. The senate decreed that they 
should resign their charge, and so they accordingly abdi- 
cated. What greater example need we seek for? The 
wisest, perhaps the most excellent of men, chose to confess 
his fault, which he might have concealed, rather than leave 
the public the least atom of religious guilt; and the con- 
suls chose to quit the highest office in the State, rather 
than fill it for a moment in defiance of religion. How 
- great is the reputation of the augurs! _ 

And is not the art of the soothsayers divine? And 
must not every one who sees what innumerable instances 
of the same kind there are confess the existence of the 

? 'The Rogator, who collected the votes, and pronounced who was the 
person chosen. There were two sorts of Rogators; one was the officer 
here mentioned, and the other was the Rogator, or speaker of the whole 

? Which was Sardinia, as appears from one of Cicero’s epistles to his 
brother Quintus. 
* Their sacred books of ceremonies. 


‘Gods? For they who have interpreters must certainly 

exist themselves; now, there are interpreters of the Gods; 
therefore we must allow there are Gods. But it may be 
said, perhaps, that all predictions are not accomplished. 
We may as well conclude there is no art of physic, because 
all sick persons do not recover. The Gods show us signs 
of future events; if we are occasionally deceived in the 
results, it is not to be imputed to the nature of the Gods, 
but to the conjectures of men. All nations agree that 
there are Gods; the opinion is innate, and, as it were, en- 
graved in the minds of all men. The only point in dispute 
among us is, what they are. 

VY. Their existence no one denies. Cleanthes, one of our 
sect, imputes the way in which the idea of the Gods is im- 
planted in the minds of men to four causes. The first is 
that which I just now mentioned—the foreknowledge of 
future things. The second is the great advantages which 
we enjoy from the temperature of the air, the fertility of 
the earth, and the abundance of various benefits of other 
kinds. The third cause is deduced from the terror with 
which the mind is affected by thunder, tempests, storms, 
snow, hail, devastation, pestilence, earthquakes often at- 
tended with hideous noises, showers of stones, and rain 
like drops of blood; by rocks and sudden openings of the 
earth; by monstrous births of men and beasts; by meteors 
in the air, and blazing stars, by the Greeks called comete, 
by us erinite, the appearance of which, in the late Octavian 
war,’ were foreboders of great calamities; by two suns, 
which, as I have heard my father say, happened in the 
consulate of Tuditanus and Aquillius, and in which year 
also another sun (P. Africanus) was extinguished. These 
things terrified mankind, and raised in them a firm belief 
of the existence of some celestial and divine power. 

His fourth cause, and that the strongest, is drawn from 
the regularity of the motion and revolution of the heavens, 
the distinctness, variety, beauty, and order of the sun, moon, 
and all the stars, the appearance only of which is sufficient 
to convince us they are not the effects of chance; as when 
we enter into a house, or school, or court, and observe the 
exact order, discipline, and method of it, we cannot sup- 

2 The war between Octavius and Cinna, the consuls. 


pose that it is so regulated without a cause, but must con- 
clude that there is some one who commands, and to whom 
obedience is paid. It is quite impossible for us to avoid 
thinking that the wonderful motions, revolutions, and or- 
der of those many and great bodies, no part of which is 
impaired by the countless and infinite succession of ages, 
must be governed and directed by some supreme intelli- 
gent being. 

VI. Chrysippus, indeed, had a very penetrating genius; 
yet such is the doctrine which he delivers, that he seems 
rather to have been instructed by nature than to owe it to 
any discovery of his own. “If,” says he, “there is any- 
thing in the universe which no human reason, ability, or 
power can make, the being who produced it must certain] 
be preferable to man. Now, celestial bodies, and all those 
things which proceed in any eternal order, cannot be 
made by man; the being who made them is therefore pref- 
erable to man. What, then, is that being but a God? 
If there be no such thing as a Deity, what is there better 
than man, since he only is possessed of reason, the most 
excelient of all things? But it is a foolish piece of vanity 
in man to think there is nothing preferable to him. There 
is, therefore, something preferable; consequently, there is 
certainly a God.” 

When you behold a large and beautiful house, surely 
no one can persuade you it was built for mice and wea- 
sels, though you do not see the master; and would it not, 
therefore, be most manifest folly to imagine that a world 
so magnificently adorned, with such an immense variety 
of celestial bodies of such exquisite beauty, and that the 
vast sizes and magnitude of the sea and land were intend- 
ed as the abode of man, and not as the mansion of the 
immortal Gods? Do we not also plainly see this, that 
all the most elevated regions are the best, and that the 
earth is the lowest region, and is surrounded with the 
grossest air? so that as we perceive that in some cities 
and countries the capacities of men are naturally duller, 
from the thickness of the climate, so mankind in general 
are affected by the heaviness of the air which surrounds 
the earth, the grossest region of the world. 

Yet even from this inferior intelligence of man we may 


discover the existence of some intelligent agent that is 
divine, and wiser than ourselves; for, as Socrates says in 
Xenophon, from whence had man his portion of under- 
standing? And, indeed, if any one were to push his in- 
quiries about the moisture and heat which is diffused 
through the human body, and the earthy kind of selidity 
existing in our entrails, and that soul by which we breathe, 
and to ask whence we derived them, it would be plain 
that we have received one thing from the earth, another 
from liquid, another from fire, and another from that air 
which we inhale every time that we breathe. 

VII. But where did we find that which excels all these 
things—I mean reason, or (if you please, in other terms) 
the mind, understanding, thought, prudence; and from 
whence did we receive it? Shall the world be possessed 
of every other perfection, and be destitute of this one, 
which is the most important and valuable of all? But 
certainly there is nothing better, or more excellent, or 
more beautiful than the world; and not only there is noth- 
ing better, but we cannot even conceive anything superior 
to it; and if reason and wisdom are the greatest of all 
perfections, they must necessarily be a part of what we 
all allow to be the most excellent. 

Who is not compelled to admit the truth of what I as- 
sert by that agreeable, uniform, and continued agreement 
of things in the universe? Could the earth at one sea- 
son be adorned with flowers, at another be covered with 
snow? Or,if such a number of things regulated their 
own changes, could the approach and retreat of the sun 
in the summer and winter solstices be so regularly known 
and calculated? Could the flux and reflux of the sea and 
the height of the tides be affected by the increase or wane 
of the moon? Could the different courses of the stars be 
preserved by the uniform movement of the whole heay- 
en? Could these things subsist, I say, in such a harmony 
of all the parts of the universe without the continued in- 
fluence of a divine spirit? 

If these points are handled in a/free and copious man- 
ner, as I purpose to do, they will be less liable to the 
cavils of the Academics; but the narrow, confined way in 
which Zeno reasoned upon them laid them more open ° 


objection; for as running streams are seldom or never 
tainted, while standing waters easily grow corrupt, so a 
fluency of expression washes away the censures of the cay- 
iller, while the narrow limits of a discourse which is too 
concise is almost defenceless; for the arguments which 
I am enlarging upon are thus briefly laid down by Zeno: 

VILL. “That which reasons is superior to that which 
does not; nothing is superior to the world; the world, 
therefore, reasons.” By the same rule the world may be 
proved to be wise, happy, and eternal; for the possession 
of all these qualities is superior to the want of them; and 
nothing is superior to the world; the inevitable conse- 
quence of which argument is, that the world, therefore, 
is a Deity. He goes on: “No part of anything void of 
sense is capable of perception; some parts of the world 
have perception; the world, therefore, has sense,” He 
proceeds, and pursues the argument closely. ‘ Nothing,” 
says he, “ that is destitute itself of life and reason can gen- 
erate a being possessed of life and reason; but the world 
does generate beings possessed of life and reason; the 
world, therefore, is not itself destitute of life and reason.” 

He concludes his argument in his usual manner with a 
simile ; “If well-tuned pipes should spring out of the olive, 
would you have the slightest doubt that there was in the 
olive-tree itself some kind of skill and knowledge? Or if 
the plane-tree could produce harmonious lutes, surely you 
would infer, on the same principle, that music was con- 
tained in the plane-tree. Why, then, should we not believe 
the world is a living and wise being, since it produces liv- 
ing and wise beings out of itself?” 

1X. But as I have been insensibly led into a length of 
discourse beyond my first design (for I said that, as the 
existence of the Gods was evident to all, there was no need 
of any long oration to prove it), I will demonstrate it by 
reasons deduced from the nature of things. For it is a 
fact that all beings which take nourishment and increase 
contain in themselves a power of natural heat, without 
which they could neither be nourished nor increase. For 
everything which is of a warm and fiery character is agi- 
tated and stirred up by its own motion. But that which 
is nourished and grows is influenced by a certain regular 


and equable motion. And as long as this motion remains 
in us, so long does sense and life remain; but the moment 
that it abates and is extinguished, we ourselves decay and 

By arguments like these, Cleanthes shows how great is 
the power of heat in all bodies. He observes that there 
is no food so gross as not to be digested in a night and 
a day; and that even in the excrementitious parts, which 
nature rejects, there remains a heat. The veins and ar- 
teries seem, by their continual quivering, to resemble the 

- agitation of fire; and it has often been observed when the 

heart of an animal is just plucked from the body that it 
palpitates with such visible motion as to resemble the ra- 
pidity of fire. Everything, therefore, that has life, wheth- 
er it be animal or vegetable, owes that life to the heat in- 
herent in it; it is this nature of heat which contains in it- 
self the vital power which extends throughout the whole 
world. This will appear more clearly on a more close ex- 
planation of this fiery quality, which pervades all things. 

Every division, ther, of the world (and I shall touch 
upon the most considerable) is sustained by heat; and 
first it may be observed in earthly substances that fire is 
produced from stones by striking or rubbing one against_ 
another; that “the warm earth smokes" when just turned 
up, and that water is drawn warm from well-springs; and 
this is most especially the case in the winter season, be- 
cause there is a great quantity of heat contained in the 
caverns of the earth; and this becomes more dense in the 
winter, and on that account confines more closely the in- 
nate heat which is discoverable in the earth. 

X. It would require a long dissertation, and many rea- 
sons would require to be adduced, to show that all the 
seeds which the earth conceives, and all those which it 
contains having been generated from itself, and fixed in 
roots and trunks, derive all their origin and increase from 
the temperature and regulation of heat. And that even 
every liquor has a mixture of heat in it is plainly demon- 
strated by the effusion of water; for it would not congeal 
by cold, nor become solid, as ice or snow, and return again 

1 This, in the original, is a fragment of an old Latin verse, 

—— Terram fumare calentem. 


to its natural state, if it were not that, when heat is applied 
to it, it again becomes liquefied and dissolved, and so dif- 
fuses itself. Therefore, by northern and other cold winds 
it is frozen and hardened, and in turn it dissolves and melts 
again by heat. The seas likewise, we find, when agitated 
by winds, grow warm, so that from this fact we may un- 
derstand that there is heat included in that vast body of 
water; for we cannot imagine it to be external and adven- 
titious heat, but such as is stirred up by agitation from the 
deep recesses of the seas; and the same thing takes place 
with respect to our bodies, which grow warm with motion 
and exercise. 

And the very air itself, which indeed is the coldest ele- 
ment, is by no means void of heat; for there is a great 
quantity, arising from the exhalations of water, which ap- 
pears to be a sort of steam occasioned by its internal heat, 
like that of boiling liquors. The fourth part of the uni- 
verse is entirely fire, and is the source of the salutary and 
vital heat which is found in the rest. From hence we may 
conclude that, as all parts of the world are sustained by 
heat, the world itself also has such a great length of time 
subsisted from the same cause; and so much the more, be- 
cause we ought to understand that that hot and fiery prin- 
ciple is so diffused over universal nature that there is con- 
tained in it a power and cause of generation and procreation, 
from which all animate beings, and all those creatures of the 
vegetable world, the roots of which are contained in the 
earth, must inevitably derive their origin and their increase. 

XI. It is nature, consequently, that continues and pre- 
serves the world, and that, too, a nature which is not des- 
titute of sense and reason; for in every essence that is not 
simple, but composed of several parts, there must be some 
predominant quality —as, for instance, the mind in man, 
and in beasts something resembling it, from which arise all 
the appetites and desires for anything. As for trees, and 
all the vegetable produce of the earth, it is thought to be 
in their roots. I call that the predominant quality,’ which 

1 The Latin word is principatus, which exactly corresponds with the 
Greek word here used by Cicero; by which is to be understood the su- 
perior, the most prevailing excellence in every kind and species of things 
through the universe. ‘ 




the Greeks call. jyyevovuxdy; which must and ought to be 
the most. excellent quality, wherever it is found. That, 
therefore, in which the prevailing quality of all nature re- 
sides must be the most excellent of all things, and most 
worthy of the power and pre-eminence over all things. 

Now, we see that there is nothing in being that is. not 
a part of the universe; and as there are sense and reason 
in the parts of it, there must therefore be these qualities, 
and these, too, in a more energetic and powerful degree, in 
that part in which the predominant quality of the world is 
found. The world, therefore, must necessarily be possessed 
of wisdom; and that element, which embraces all things, 
must excel in perfection of reason. The world, therefore, 
is a God, and the whole power of the world is contained in 
that divine element. 

The heat also of the world is more pure, clear, and live- 

ly, and, consequently, better adapted to move the senses 
than the heat, allotted to us; and it vivifies and preserves 
all things within. the compass of our knowledge. 
- It is absurd, therefore, to say that the world, which is 
endued with a perfect, free, pure, spirituous, and active 
heat, is not sensitive, since by this heat men and beasts are 
preserved, and move, and think ; more especially since this 
heat of the world is itself the sole principle of agitation, 
and has no external impulse, but is moved spontaneous- 
ly ; for what can be more powerful than the world, which 
moves and raises that heat. by which it subsists ? 

XII. For let us listen to Plato, who is regarded as a God 
among philosophers. He says that there are two sorts of 
motion, one innate and the other external; and that that 
which is moved spontaneously is more divine than that 
which is moved by another power. This self- motion he 
places in the mind alone, and concludes that the first prin- 
ciple of motion. is derived from. the mind. Therefore, 
since all.motion arises from the heat of the world, and 
that heat is not moved by the effect of any external im- 
pulse, but of its own accord, it must necessarily be a mind; 
from whence it follows that the world is animated. 

On such reasoning is founded this opinion, that the 
world is possessed of understanding, because it certainly 
has more perfections in itself than any other nature; for 



as there is no part of our bodies so considerable as the 
whole of us, so it is clear that there is no particular por- 
tion of the universe equal in magnitude to the whole of it; 
from whence it follows that wisdom must be an attribute 
of the world; otherwise man, who is a part of it, and pos- 
sessed of reason, would be superior to the entire world. 

And thus, if we proceed from the first rude, unfinished 
natures to the most superior and perfect ones, we shall in- 
evitably come at last to the nature of the Gods. For, in 
the first place, we observe that those vegetables which are 
produced out of the earth are supported by nature, and 
she gives them no further supply than is sufficient to pre- 
serve them by nourishing them and making them grow. 
To beasts she has given sense and motion, and a faculty 
which directs them to what is wholesome, and prompts 
them to shun what is noxious to them. On man she has 
conferred a greater portion of her favor; inasmuch as she 
has added reason, by which he is enabled to command his 

assions, to moderate some, and to subdue others. 

XIII. In the fourth and highest degree are those beings 
which are naturally wise and good, who from the first mo- 
ment of their existence are possessed of right and consist- 
ent reason, which we must consider superior to man and 
deserving to be attributed to a God; that is to say, to the 
world, in which it is inevitable that that perfect and com- 
plete reason should be inherent. Nor is it possible that it 
should be said with justice that there is any arrangement 
of things in which there cannot be something entire and 
perfect. For as in a vine or in beasts we see that nature, 
if not prevented by some superior violence, proceeds by 
her own appropriate path to her destined end; and as in 
painting, architecture, and the other arts there is a point 
of perfection which is attainable, and occasionally attained, 
so it is even much more necessary that in universal nature 
there must be some complete and perfect result arrived at. 
Many external accidents may happen to all other natures 
which may impede their progress to perfection, but noth- 
ing can hinder universal nature, because she is herself the 
ruler and governor of all other natures, That, therefore, 
must be the fourth and most elevated erent to which no 
other power can approach. 


But this degree is that on which the nature of all things 
is placed; and since she is possessed of this, and she pre- 
sides over all things, and is subject to no possible impedi- 
ment, the world must necessarily be an intelligent and 
even a wise being. But how marvellously great is the ig- 
norance of those men who dispute the perfection of that 
nature which encircles all things; or who, allowing it to 
be infinitely perfect, yet deny it to be, in the first place, 
animated, then reasonable, and, lastly, prudent and wise! 
For how without these qualities could it be infinitely per- 
fect? If it were like vegetables, or even like beasts, there 
would be no more reason for thinking it extremely good 
than extremely bad; and if it were possessed of reason, 
and had not wisdom from the beginning, the world would 
be in a worse condition than man; for man may grow 
wise, but the world, if it were destitute of wisdom through 
an infinite space of time past, could never acquire it. Thus 
it would be worse than man. But as that is absurd to im- 
agine, the world must be esteemed wise from all eternity, 
and consequently a Deity: since there is nothing exist- 
ing that is not defective, except the universe, which is well 
provided, and fully complete and perfect in all its num- 
bers and parts. 

XIV. For Chrysippus says, very acutely, that as the case 
is made for the buckler, and the scabbard for the sword, 
so all things, except the universe, were made for the sake of 
something else. As, for instance, all those crops and fruits 
which the earth produces were made for the sake of ani- 
mals, and animals for man; as, the horse for carrying, the 
ox for the plough, the dog for hunting and for a guard. 
But man himself was born to contemplate and imitate the 
world, being in no wise perfect, but, if I may so express 
myself, a particle of perfection ; but the world, as it com- 
prehends all, and as nothing exists that is not contained in 
it, is entirely perfect. In what, therefore, can it be defec- 
tive, since it is perfect? It cannot want understanding and 
reason, for they are the most desirable of all qualities. The 
same Chrysippus observes also, by the use of similitudes, 
that everything in its kind, when arrived at maturity and 
perfection, is superior to that which is not—as,a horse to 
a colt, a dog to a puppy, and a man to a boy—so whatever 


is best in the whole universe must exist in some complete 
and perfect being. But nothing is more perfect than the 
world, and nothing better than virtue. Virtue, therefore, 
is an attribute of the world. But human nature is not 
perfect, and nevertheless virtue is produced in it: with 
how much greater reason, then, do we conceive it to be in- 
herent in the world! Therefore the world has virtue, and 
it is also wise, and consequently a Deity. 

XV. The divinity of the world being now clearly per- 
ceived, we must acknowledge the same divinity to be like- 
wise in the stars, which are formed from the lightest and 
purest part of the ether, without a mixture of any other 
matter; and, being altogether hot and transparent, we may 
justly say they have life, sense, and understanding. And 
Cleanthes thinks that it may be established by the evi- 
dence of two of our senses—feeling and seeing—that they 
are entirely fiery bodies; for the heat and brightness of 
the sun far exceed any other fire, inasmuch as it enlightens 
the whole universe, covering such a vast extent of space, 
and its power is such that we perceive that it not only 
warms, but often even burns: neither of which it could do 
if it were not of a fiery quality. Since, then, says he, the 
sun is a fiery body, and is nourished by the vapors of the 
ocean (for no fire can continue without some sustenance), 
it must be either like that fire which we use to warm us 
and dress our food, or like that which is —— in the 
bodies of animals. 

And this fire, which the convenience of life requires, is 
the devourer and consumer of everything, and throws into 
confusion and destroys whatever it reaches. On the con- 
trary, the corporeal heat is full of life, and salutary; and 
vivifies, preserves, cherishes, increases, and sustains all 
things, and is productive of sense; therefore, says he, there 
can be no doubt which of these fires the sun is like, since 
it causes all things in their respective kinds to flourish and 
arrive to maturity; and as the fire of the sun is like that 
which is contained in the bodies of animated beings, the 
sun itself must likewise be animated, and so must the oth- 
er stars also, which arise out of the celestial ardor that we 
eall the sky, or firmament. 

As, then, some animals are generated in the earth, some 



in the water, and some in the air, Aristotle’ thinks it ridic- 
ulous to imagine that no animal is formed in that part of 
the universe which is the most capable to produce them. 
But the stars are situated in the ethereal space; and as 
this is an element the most subtle, whose motion is contin- 
ual, and whose force does not decay, it follows, of necessity, 
that every animated being which is produced in it must be 
endowed with the quickest sense and the swiftest motion. 
The stars, therefore, being there generated, it is a natu- 
ral inference to suppose them endued with such a degree 
of sense and understanding as places them in the rank of 

XVI. For it may be observed that they who inhabit 
countries of a pure, clear air have a quicker apprehension 
and a readier genius than those who live in a thick, foggy 
climate. It is thought likewise that the nature of a man’s 
diet has an effect on the mind; therefore it is probable 
that the stars are possessed of an excellent understanding, 
inasmuch as they are situated in the ethereal part of the 
universe, and are nourished by the vapors of the earth and 
sea, which are purified by their long passage to the heay- 
ens. But the invariable order and regular motion of the 
stars plainly manifest their sense and understanding; for 
all motion which seems to be conducted with reason and 
harmony supposes an intelligent principle, that does not 
act blindly, or inconsistently, or at random. And this reg- 
ularity and consistent course of the stars from all eterni- 
ty indicates not any natural order, for it is pregnant with 
sound reason, not fortune (for fortune, being a friend to 
change, despises consistency). It follows, therefore, that 
they move spontaneously by their own sense and divinity. 

Aristotle also deserves high commendation for his ob- 
servation that everything that moves is either put in mo- 
tion by natural impulse, or by some external force, or of 
its own accord; and that the sun, and moon, and all the 
stars move; but that those things which are moved by 
natural impulse are either borne downward by their 
weight, or upward by their lightness; neither of which 
things could be the case with the stars, because they move 
in a regular circle and orbit. Nor can it be said that 

? The passage of Aristotle to which Cicero here refers is lost. 

a Sie Se ito 5 aa aa 


there is some superior force which causes the stars to be 
moved in a manner contrary to nature. For what supe- 
rior force can there be? It follows, therefore, that their 
motion must be voluntary. And whoever is convinced of 
this must discover not only great ignorance, but great im- 
piety likewise, if he denies the existence of the Gods; nor 
is the difference great whether a man denies their exist- 
ence, or deprives them of all design and action ; for what- 
ever is wholly inactive seems to me not to exist at all. 
Their existence, therefore, appears so plain that I can 
scarcely think that man in his senses who denies it. 

XVI. It now remains that we consider what is the 
character of the Gods. Nothing is more difficult than to 
divert our thoughts and judgment from the information 
of our corporeal sight, and the view of objects which our 
eyes are accustomed to; and it is this difficulty which has 
had such an influence on the unlearned, and on philoso- 
phers’ also who resembled the unlearned multitude, that 
they have been unable to form any idea of the immortal 
Gods except under the clothing of the human figure; the 
weakness of which opinion Cotta has so well confuted that 
I need not add my thoughts upon it. But as the previous 
idea which we have of the Deity comprehends two things 
—first of all, that he is an animated being; secondly, that 
there is nothing in all nature superior to him—I do not 
see what can be more consistent with this idea and pre- 
conception than to attribute a mind and divinity to the 
world,’ the most excellent of all beings. 

Epicurus may be as merry with this notion as he pleases ; 

‘a man not the best qualified for a joker, as not having the 

wit and sense of his country.* Let him say that a voluble 
round Deity is to him incomprehensible; yet he shall ney- 
er dissuade me from a principle which he himself approves, 
for he is of opinion there are Gods when he allows that 
there must be a nature excellently perfect. But it is cer- 

1 He means the Epicureans. 

? Here the Stoic speaks too plain to be misunderstood. His world, 
his mundus, is the universe, and that universe is his great Deity, in quo 
sit totius nature principatus, in which the superior excellence of univer- 
sal nature consists. 

* Athens, the seat of learning and politeness, of which Balbus will not 
allow Epicurus to be worthy. 


tain that the world is most excellently perfect: nor is it to 
be doubted that whatever has life, sense, reason, and under- 
standing must excel that which is destitute of these things. 
It follows, then, that the world has life, sense, reason, and 
understanding, and is consequently a Deity. But this 
shall soon be made more manifest by the operation of these 
very things which the world causes. 

XVII. In the mean while, Velleius, let me entreat you 
not to be always saying that we are utterly destitute of 
every sort of learning. The cone, you say, the cylinder, 
and the pyramid, are more beautiful to you than the 
sphere. This is to have different eyes from other men. 
But suppose they are more beautiful to the sight only, which 
does not appear to me, for I can see nothing more beau- 
tiful than that figure which contains all others, and which 
has nothing rough in it, nothing offensive, nothing cut into 
angles, nothing broken, nothing swelling, and nothing hol- 
low; yet as there are two forms most esteemed,’ the globe 
in solids (for so the Greek word ogaipa, I think, should 
be construed), and the circle, or orb, in planes (in Greek, 
Kukdoc); and as they, only have an exact similitude of 
parts in which every extreme is equally distant from the 
centre, what can we imagine in nature to be more just and 
proper? But if you have never raked into this learned 
dust’ to find out these things, surely, at all events, you 
natural philosophers must know that equality of motion 
and invariable order could not be preserved in any other 
figure. Nothing, therefore, can be more illiterate than to 
assert, as you are in the habit of doing, that it is doubtful 
whether the world is round or not, because it may possi- 
bly be of another shape, and that there are innumerable 
worlds of different forms; which Epicurus, if he ever had 
learned that two and two are equal to four, would not 
have said. But while he judges of what is best by his 
palate, he does not look up to the “ palace of heaven,” as 
Ennius calls it. 

XIX. For as there are two sorts of stars,*® one kind of 

? This is Pythagoras’s doctrine, as appears in Diogenes Laertius. 

? He here alludes to mathematical and geometrical instruments. 

* Balbus here speaks of the fixed stars, and of the motions of the 
orbs of the planets. He here alludes, says M. Bouhier, to the differ- 



which measure their journey from east to west by immu- 
table stages, never in the least varying from their usual 
course, while the other completes a double revolution with 
an equally constant regularity; from each of these facts 
we demonstrate the volubility of the world (which could 
not possibly take place in any but a globular form) and 
the circular orbits of the stars. And first of all the sun, 
which has the chief rank among all the stars, is moved in 
such a manner that it fills the whole earth with its light, 
and illuminates alternately one part of the earth, while it 
leaves the other in darkness. The shadow of the earth 
interposing causes night; and the intervals of night are 
equal to those of day. And it is the regular approaches 
and retreats of the sun from which arise the regulated - 
degrees of cold and heat. His annual circuit is in three 
hundred and sixty-five days, and nearly six hours more.’ 
At one time he bends his course to the north, at another 
to the south, and thus produces summer and winter, with 
the other two seasons, one of which succeeds the decline 
of winter, and the other that of summer. And so to these 
four changes of the seasons we attribute the origin and 
cause of all the productions both of sea and land. 

The moon completes the same course every month 
which the sun does ina year. The nearer she approaches 
to the sun, the dimmer light does she yield, and when 
most remote from it she shines with the fullest brilliancy ; 
nor are her figure and form only changed in her wane, but 
her situation likewise, which is sometimes in the north 
and sometimes in the south. By this course she has a 
sort of summer and winter solstices; and by her influence 
she contributes to the nourishment and increase of ani- 
ent and diurnal motions of these stars; one sort from east to west, the 
other from one tropic to the other: and this is the construction which 
our learned and great geometrician and astronomer, Dr. Halley, made 
of this passage. 

* This mensuration of the year into three hundred and sixty-five days 
and near six hours (by the odd hours and minutes of which, in every 
fifth year, the dies intercalaris, or leap-year, is made) could not but be 
known, Dr. Halley states, by Hipparchus, as appears from the remains 
of that great astronomer of the ancients. We are inclined to think that 
Julius Cesar had divided the year, according to what we call the Julian 
year, before Cicero wrote this book; for we see, in the beginning of it, 

how pathetically he speaks of Cresar’s usurpation. 
. 19° 


mated beings, and to the ripeness and maturity of all veg- 
etables. , 

XX. But most worthy our admiration is the motion of 
those five stars which are falsely called wandering stars; 
for they cannot be said to wander which keep from all 
eternity their approaches and retreats, and have all the 
rest of their motions, in one regular constant and estab- 
lished order. What is yet more wonderful in these stars 
which we are speaking of is that sometimes they appear, 
and sometimes they disappear; sometimes they advance 
towards the sun, and sometimes they retreat; sometimes 
they precede him, and sometimes follow him; sometimes 
they move faster, sometimes slower, and sometimes they 
do not stir in the least, but for a while stand still. From 
these unequal motions of the planets, mathematicians have 
called that the “great year’ in which the sun, moon, and 
five wandering stars, having finished their revolutions, are 
found in their original situation. In how long a time this 
is effected is much disputed, but it must be a certain and 
definite period. For the planet Saturn (called by the 
Greeks ®aivov), which is farthest from the earth, finishes 
his course in about thirty years; and in his course there 
is something very singular, for sometimes he moves be- 
fore the sun, sometimes he keeps behind it; at one time 
lying hidden in the night, at another again appearing in 
the morning; and ever performing the same motions in the 
same space of time without any alteration, so as to be for 
infinite ages regular in these courses. ~ Beneath this plan- 
et, and nearer the earth, is Jupiter, called @aé@wy, which 
passes the same orbit of the twelve signs’ in twelve years, 
and goes through exactly the same variety in its course 
that the star of Saturn does. Next to Jupiter is the 
planet Mars (in Greek, Ivpdere), which finishes its revolu- 
tion through the same orbit as the two previously men- 
tioned,*® in twenty-four months, wanting six days, as I 

1 The words of Censorinus, on this occasion, are to the same effect. 
The opinions of philosophers concerning this great year are very differ- 
ent; but the institution of it is ascribed to Democritus, 

® The zodiac. 

* Though Mars is said to hold his orbit in the zodiac with the rest, 

and to finish his revolution through the same orbit (that is, the zodiac) 
with the other two, yet Balbus means in a different line of the zodiac. 



imagine. Below this is Mercury (called by the Greeks 
Zri\Bwv), which performs the same course in little less 
than a year, and is never farther distant from the sun 
than the space of one sign, whether it precedes or follows 
it. The lowest of the five planets, and nearest the earth, 
is that of Venus (called in Greek wo¢dpoc). Before the 
rising of the sun, it is called the morning-star, and after 
the setting, the evening-star. It has the same revolution 
through the zodiac, both as to latitude and longitude, with 
the other planets, in a year, and never is more than two’ 
signs from the sun, whether it precedes or follows it. 

XXI. I cannot, therefore, conceive that this constant 
course of thé planets, this just agreement in such various 
motions through all eternity, can be preserved without a 
mind, reason, and consideration; and since we may per- 
ceive these qualities in the stars, we cannot but place them 
in the rank of Gods. Those which are called the fixed 
stars have the same indications of reason and prudence. 
Their motion is daily, regular, and constant. They do not 
move with the sky, nor have they an adhesion to the fir- 
mament, as they who are ignorant of natural philosoph 
affirm. For the sky, which is thin, transparent, and suf- 
fused with an equal heat, does not seem by its nature to 
have power to whirl about the stars, or to be proper to 
contain them. ‘The fixed stars, therefore, have their own 
sphere, separate and free from any conjunction with the 
sky. Their perpetual courses, with that admirable and 
incredible regularity of theirs, so plainly declare a divine 
power and mind to be in them, that he who cannot per- 
ceive that they are also endowed with divine power must 
be incapable of all perception whatever. 

In the heavens, therefore, there is nothing fortuitous, 
unadvised, inconstant, or variable: all there is order, 
truth, reason, and constancy; and all the things which are 
destitute of these qualities are counterfeit, deceitful, and 
erroneous, and have their residence about the earth’ be- 
neath the moon, the lowest of all the planets. He, there- 

? According to late observations, it never goes but a sign and a half 
from the sun. 

? These, Dr. Davis says, are ‘‘aérial fires ;” concerning which he re- 
fers to the second book of Pliny. 


fore, who believes that this admirable order and almost 
incredible regularity of the heavenly bodies, by which the 
preservation and entire safety of all things is secured, is 
destitute of intelligence, must be considered to be himself 
wholly destitute of all intellect whatever. 

I think, then, I shall not deceive myself in maintaining 
this dispute upon the principle of Zeno, who went the 
farthest in his search after truth. 

XXII. Zeno, then, defines nature to be “an artificial 
fire, proceeding in a regular way to generation ;” for he 
thinks that to create and beget are especial properties of 
art, and that whatever may be wrought by the hands of 
our artificers is much more skilfully performed by nature, 
that is, by this artificial fire, which is the master of all 
other arts. 

According to this manner of. reasoning, every particu- 
lar nature is artificial, as it operates agreeably to a certain 
method peculiar to itself; but that universal nature which 
embraces all things is said by Zeno to be not only artifi- 
cial, but absolutely the artificer, ever thinking and provid- 
ing all things useful and proper; and as every particular 
nature owes its rise and increase to its own proper seed, 
so universal nature has all her motions voluntary, has af- 
fections and desires (by the Greeks called éppac) produc- 
tive of actions agreeable to them, like us, who have sense 
and understanding to direct us. Such, then, is the intel- 
ligence of the universe ; for which reason it may be prop- 
erly termed prudence or providence (in Greek, zpévaa), 
since her chiefest care and employment is to provide all 
things fit for its duration, that it may want nothing, and, 
above all, that it may be adorned with all perfection of 
beauty and ornament. 

XXIII. Thus far have I spoken concerning the universe, 
and also of the stars; from whence it is apparent that 
there is almost an infinite number of Gods, always in ac- 
tion, but without labor or fatigue; for they are not com- 
posed of veins, nerves, and bones; their food and drink 
are not such as cause humors too gross or too subtle; nor 
are their bodies such as to be subject to the fear of falls 
or blows, or in danger of diseases from a weariness of 
limbs. Epicurus, to secure his Gods from such accidents, 

i Sean ee 

os See 


has made them only outlines of Deities, void of action; 
but our Gods being of the most beautiful form, and situ- 
ated in the purest region of the heavens, dispose and rule 
their course in such a manner that they seem to contribute 
to the support and preservation of all things. 

Besides these, there are many other natures which have 
with reason been deified by the wisest Grecians, and b 
our ancestors, in consideration of the benefits derived from 
them; for they were persuaded that whatever was of 
great utility to human kind must proceed from divine 
goodness, and the name of the Deity was applied to that 
which the Deity produced, as when we call corn Ceres, 
and wine Bacchus; whence that saying of Terence,’ 

Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus starves. 

And any quality, also, in which there was any singular vir- 
tue was nominated a Deity, such as Faith and Wisdom, 
which are placed among the divinities in the Capitol; the 
last by Aimilius Scaurus, but Faith was consecrated before 
by Atilius Calatinus. You see the temple of Virtue and 
that of Honor repaired by M. Marcellus, erected former- 
ly, in the Ligurian war, by Q. Maximus. Need I mention 
those dedicated to Help, Safety, Concord, Liberty, and 
Victory, which have been called Deities, because their ef- 
ficacy has been so great that it could not have proceeded 
from any but from some divine power? In like manner 
are the names of Cupid, Voluptas, and of Lubentine Venus 
consecrated, though they were things vicious and not nat- 
ural, whatever Velleius may think to the contrary, for 
they frequently stimulate nature in too violent a manner. 
Everything, then, from which any great utility proceeded 
was deified; and, indeed, the names I have just now 
Sela are declaratory of the particular virtue of each 

XXIV. It has been a general custom likewise, that men 
who have done important service to the public should be 
exalted to heaven by fame and universal consent. Thus 
Hercules, Castor and Pollux, A’sculapius, and Liber be- 
came Gods (I mean Liber’ the son of Semele, and not 
him* whom our ancestors consecrated in such state and 

1 In the Eunuch of Terence. 7” Bacchus. * The son of Ceres. 


solemnity with Ceres and Libera; the difference in which 
may be seen in our Mysteries.’ But because the offsprings 
of our bodies are called “Liberi” (children), therefore the 
offsprings of Ceres are called Liber and Libera (Libera? 
is the feminine, and Liber the masculine); thus likewise 
Romulus, or Quirinus — for they are thought to be the 
same—became a God. 

They are justly esteemed as Deities, since their souls 
subsist and enjoy eternity, from whence they are perfect 
and immortal beings. ° 

There is another reason, too, and that founded on natu- 
ral philosophy, which has greatly contributed to the num- 
ber of Deities; namely, the custom of representing in hu- 
man form a crowd of Gods who have supplied the poets 
with fables, and filled mankind with all sorts of supersti- 
tion. Zeno has treated of this subject, but it has been dis- 
cussed more at length by Cleanthes and Chrysippus. All 
Greece was of opinion that Colum was castrated by his 
son Saturn,*° and that Saturn was chained by his son Jupi- 
ter. In these impious fables, a physical and not inelegant 
meaning is contained; for they would denote that the ce- 
lestial, most exalted, and ethereal nature—that is, the fiery 
nature, which produces all things by itself{—is destitute of 
that part of the body which is necessary for the act of 
generation by conjunction with another. 

XXV. By Saturn they mean that which comprehends 
the course and revolution of times and seasons; the Greek 
name for which Deity implies as much, for he is called 

? The books of Ceremonies. 

2 This Libera is taken for Proserpine, who, with her brother Liber, 
was consecrated by the Romans; all which are parts of nature in pro- 
sopopeeias. Cicero, therefore, makes Balbus distinguish between the 
person Liber, or Bacchus, and the Liber which is a part of nature in 

* These allegorical fables are largely related by Hesiod in his The- 

THe says exactly the same thing: 

Hic arte Pollux et vagus Hercules 
Enisus arces attigit igneas: 
Quos inter Augustus recumbens 
Purpureo bibit ore nectar. 
Hac te merentem, Bacche pater, tuz 
Vexere tigres indocili jugum 
Collo ferentes: hac Quirinus 
Martis equis Acheronta fugit.—Hor. iii. 3. 9. 


Kpdvoc, which is the same with Xpévoc, that is, a “space of 
time.” But he is called Saturn, because he is filled (sa- 
turatur) with years; and he is usually feigned to have de- 
voured his children, because time, ever insatiable, consumes 
the rolling years; but to restrain him from immoderate 
haste, Jupiter has confined him to the course of the stars, 
which are as chains to him. Jupiter (that is, juvans pater) 
signifies a “helping father,” whom, by changing the cases, 
we call Jove,’ a juvando. The poets call him “father of 
Gods and men; and our ancestors “ the most good, the 
most great;” and as there is something more glorious in 
itself, and more agreeable to others, to be good (that is, 
beneficent) than to be great, the title of “most good” pre- 
cedes that of “most great.” This, then, is he whom En- 
nius means in the following passage, before quoted— 

Look up to the refulgent heaven above, 
Which all men call, unanimously, Jove: 

which is more plainly expressed than in this other pas- 
sage® of the same poet— 

On whose account I'll curse that flood of light, 
Whate’er it is above that shines so bright. 

Our augurs also mean the same, when, for the “thunder- 
ing and ‘lightning heaven,” they say the “thundering and 
lightning Jove.” Euripides, among many excellent things, 
has this: 

The vast, expanded, boundless sky behold, 
See it with soft embrace the earth enfold ; 
This own the chief of Deities above, 

And this acknowledge by the name of Jove. 

XXVI. The air, according to the Stoics, which is be- 
tween the sea and the heaven, is consecrated by the name 
of Juno, and is called the sister and wife of Jove, because 

? Cicero means by conversis casibus, varying the cases from the com- 
mon rule of declension; that is, by departing from the true grammatical 
rules of speech; for if we would keep to it, we should decline the word 
Jupiter, Jupiteris in the second case, etc. 

2 Pater diviimque hominumque. 

* The common reading is, planiusque alio loco idem; which, as Dr. 
Davis observes, is absurd ; therefore, in his note, he prefers planius quam 
alio loco idem, from two copies, in which sense I have translated it. 


it resembles the sky, and is in close conjunction with it. 
They have made it feminine, because there is nothing 
softer. But I believe it is called Juno, a juvando (from 

To make three separate kingdoms, by fable, there re- 
mained yet the water and the earth. The dominion of the 
sea is given, therefore, to Neptune, a brother, as he is called, 
of Jove; whose name, Neptunus—as Portunus, a portu, 
from a port—is derived a nando (from swimming), the first 
letters being a little changed. The sovereignty and power 

‘over the earth is the portion of a God, to whom we, as well 
as the Greeks, have given a name that denotes riches (in 
Latin, Dis; in Greek, M\ovrwr), because all things arise from 
the earth and return to it. He forced away Proserpine (in 
Greek called IMepcepdvn), by which the poets mean the “ seed 
of corn,” from whence comes their fiction of Ceres, the 
mother of Proserpine, seeking for her daughter, who was 
hidden from her. She is called Ceres, which is the same 
as Geres—a gerendis frugibus'—* from bearing fruit,” the 
first letter of the word being altered after the manner of 
the Greeks, for by them she is called Anpjrnp, the same as 
Tnphrnp.” Again, he (qui magna vorteret) “who brings 
about mighty changes” is called Mavors; and Minerva is 
so called because (minueret, or minaretur) she diminishes 
or menaces. 

XXVII. And as the beginnings and endings of all things 
are of the greatest importance, therefore they would have 
their sacrifices to begin with Janus.* His name is derived 
ab eundo, from passing; from whence thorough passages 
are called janz, and the outward doors of common houses 
are called januce. The name of Vesta is, from the Greeks, 
the same with their ‘Eoria. Her province is over altars 
and hearths; and in the name of this Goddess, who is the 
keeper of all things within, prayers and sacrifices are con- 
cluded. The Dii Penates, “household Gods,” have some 
affinity with this power, and are so called either from pe- 

1 From the verb gero, to bear. 

? That is, ‘* mother earth.” 

* Janus is said to be the first who erected temples in Italy, and insti- 
tuted religious rites, and from whom the first month in the Roman cal- 
endar is derived. 


nus, “all kind of human provisions,” or because penitus 
insident (they reside within), from which, by the poets, 
they are called penetrales also. Apollo,a Greek name, is 
called Sol, the sun; and Diana, Zuna,the moon. The sun 
(sol) is so named either because he is solws (alone), so emi- 
nent above all the stars; or because he obscures all the 
stars, and appears alone as soon as he rises. Luna, the 
moon, is so called @ Zucendo (from shining) ; she bears the 
name also of Lucina: and as in Greece the women in labor 
invoke Diana Lucifera, so here they invoke Juno Lucina. 
She is likewise called Diana omnivaga, not a venando 
(from hunting), but because she is reckoned one of the 
seven stars that seem to wander.’ She is called Diana 
because she makes a kind of day of the night;? and pre- 
sides over births, because the delivery is effected some- 
times in seven, or at most in nine, courses of the moon; 
which, because they make mensa spatia (measured spaces), 
are called menses (months). This occasioned a pleasant 
observation of Timzeus (as he has many). Having said in 
his history that “the same night in which Alexander was 
born, the temple of Diana at Ephesus was burned down,” 
he adds, “It is not in the least to be wondered at, because 
Diana, being willing to assist at the labor of Olympias,° 
was absent from home.” But to this Goddess, because ad 
res omnes veniret—* she has an influence upon all things” 
—we have given the appellation of Venus,‘ from whom the 
word venustas (beauty) is rather derived than Venus from 

XXVIII. Do you not see, therefore, how, from the pro- 
ductions of nature and the useful inventions of men, have 
arisen fictitious and imaginary Deities, which have been 
the foundation of false opinions, pernicious errors, and 
wretched superstitions? For we know how the different 
forms of the Gods—their ages, apparel, ornaments} their 

? Stelle vagantes. 

* Noctu quasi diem efficeret. Ben Jonson says the same thing: 

Thou that mak’st a day of night, 
Goddess excellently bright.—Ode to the Moon. 

3 Olympias was the mother of Alexander. 

* Venus is here said to be one of the names of Diana, because ad res 
a veniret ; but she is not supposed to be the same as the mother of 



pedigrees, marriages, relations, and everything belonging 
to them—are adapted to human weakness and represented 
with our passions; with lust, sorrow, and anger, according 
to fabulous history: they have had wars and combats, not 
only, as Homer relates, when they have interested them- 
selves in two different armies, but when they have fought 
battles in their own defence against the Titans and giants. 
These stories, of the greatest weakness and levity, are re- 
lated and believed with the most implicit folly. 

But, rejecting these fables with contempt, a Deity is 
diffused in every part of nature; in earth under the name 
of Ceres, in the sea under the name of Neptune, in oth- 
er parts under other names. Yet whatever they are, and 
whatever characters and dispositions they have, and what- 
ever name custom has given them, we are bound to wor- 
ship and adore them. The best, the chastest, the most sa- 
cred and pious worship of the Gods is to reverence them 
always with a pure, perfect, and unpolluted mind and 
voice; for our ancestors, as well as the philosophers, have 
separated superstition from religion. They who prayed 
whole days and sacrificed, that their children might sur- 
vive them (at superstites essent), were called superstitious, 
which word became afterward more general; but they 
who diligently perused, and, as we may say, read or prac- 
tised over again, all the duties relating to the worship of 
the Gods, were called religiosi—religious, from relegendo— 
“reading over again, or practising;” as elegantes, elegant, 
ex eligendo, “from choosing, making a good choice ;” dili- 
gentes, diligent, ex diligendo, “from attending on what we 
love;” intelligentes, intelligent, from understanding — for 
the signification is derived in the same manner. Thus are 
the words superstitious and religious understood; the one 
being a term of reproach, the other of commendation. I 
think I have now sufficiently demonstrated that there are 
Gods, and what they are. 

XXIX. Iam now to show that the world is governed by 
the providence of the Gods. This is an important point, 
which you Academies endeavor to confound; and, indeed, 
the whole contest is with you, Cotta; for your sect, Vel- 
leius, know very little of what is said on different subjects 
by other schools. You read and have a taste only for 


your own books, and condemn all others without exami- 
nation. For instance, when you mentioned yesterday’ that 
prophetic old dame Hpévea, Providence, invented by the 
Stoics, you were led into that error by imagining that 
Providence was made by them to be a particular Deity 
that governs the whole universe, whereas it is only spoken 
in a short manner; as when it is said “ The commonwealth 
of Athens is governed by the council,” it is meant “of the 
Areopagus ;’* so when we say “'The world is governed by 
providence,” we mean “by the providence of the Gods.” 
To express ourselves, therefore, more fully and clearly, 
we say, “The world is governed by the providence of the 
Gods.” Be not, therefore, lavish of your railleries, of 
which your sect has little to spare: if I may advise you, 
do not attempt it. It does not become you, it is not your 
talent, nor is it in your power. This is not applied to you 
in particular who have the education and politeness of a 
Roman, but to all. your sect in general, and especially to 
your leader*—a man unpolished, illiterate, insulting, with- 
out wit, without reputation, without elegance. 

XXX. I assert, then, that the universe, with all its parts, 
was originally constituted, and has, without any cessation, 
been ever governed by the providence of the Gods. This 
argument we Stoics commonly divide into three parts; the 
first of which is, that the existence of the Gods being once 
known, it must follow that the world is governed by their 
wisdom; the second, that as everything is under the di- 
rection of an intelligent nature, which has produced that 
beautiful order in the world, it is evident that it is formed 
from animating principles; the third is deduced from those 
glorious works which we behold in the heavens and the 

First, then, we must either deny the existence of the 
Gods (as Democritus and Epicurus by their doctrine of 
images in some sort do), or, if we acknowledge that there 

! Here is a mistake, as Fulvius Ursinus observes; for the discourse 
seems to be continued in one day, as appears from the beginning of this 
book. ‘This may be an inadvertency of Cicero. 

2 The senate of Athens was so called from the words “Apeco¢ Idyoe, 
the Village, some say the Hill, of Mars. 

* Epicurus. 


are Gods, we must believe they are employed, and that, 
too, in something excellent. Now, nothing is so excellent 
as the administration of the universe. The universe, there- 
fore, is governed by the wisdom of the Gods. Otherwise, 
we must imagine that there is some cause superior to the 
Deity, whether it be a nature inanimate, or a necessity 
agitated by a mighty force, that produces those beautiful 
works which we behold. The nature of the Gods would 
then be neither supreme nor excellent, if you subject it to 
that necessity or to that nature, by which you would make 
the heaven, the earth, and the seas to be governed. But 
there is nothing superior to the Deity; the world, there- 
fore, must be governed by him: consequently, the Deity is 
under no obedience or subjection to nature, but does him- 
self rule over all nature. In effect,if we allow the Gods 
have understanding, we allow also their providence, which 
regards the most important things; for, can they be ig- 
norant of those important things, and how they are to be 
conducted and preserved, or do they want power to sus- 
tain and direct them? Ignorance is inconsistent with the 
nature of the Gods, and imbecility is repugnant to their 
majesty. From whence it follows, as we assert, that the 
world is governed by the providence of the Gods. 

XXXI. But supposing, which is incontestable, that there 
are Gods, they must be animated, and not only animated, 
but endowed with reason—united, as we may say, in a civil 
agreement and society, and governing together one uni- 
verse, as a republic or city. Thus the same reason, the 
same Verity, the same law, which ordains good and pro- 
hibits evil, exists in the Gods as it does in men. From 
them, consequently, we have prudence and understand- 
ing, for which reason our ancestors erected temples to the 
Mind, Faith, Virtue, and Concord. Shall we not then al- 
low the Gods to have these perfections, since we worship 
the sacred and august images of them? But if under- 
standing, faith, virtue, and concord reside in human kind, 
how could they come: on earth, unless from heaven? And 
if we are possessed of wisdom, reason, and prudence, the 
Gods must have the same qualities in a greater degree; 
and not only have them, but employ them in the best and 
greatest works. The universe is the best and greatest 



work; therefore it must be governed by the wisdom and 
providence of the Gods. 

Lastly, as we have sufficiently shown that those glorious 
and luminous bodies which we behold are Deities—I mean 
the sun, the moon, the fixed and wandering stars, the fir- 
mament, and the world itself, and those other things also 
which have any singular virtue, and are of any great util- 
ity to human kind—it follows that all things are governed 
by providence and a divine mind. But enough has been 
said on the first part. 

XXXII. It is now incumbent on me to prove that all 
things are subjected to nature, and most beautifully di- 
rected by her. But, first of all, it is proper to explain 
precisely what that nature is, in order to come to the 
more easy understanding of what I would demonstrate. 
Some think that nature is a certain irrational power excit- 
ing in bodies the necessary motions. Others, that it is an 
intelligent power, acting by order and method, designing 
some end in every cause, and always aiming at that end, 
whose works express such skill as no art, no hand, can-imi- 
tate; for, they say, such is the virtue of its seed, that, 
however small it is, if it falls into a place proper for its 
reception, and meets with matter conducive to its nour- 
ishment and increase, it forms and produces everything 
in its respective kind; either vegetables, which receive 
their nourishment from their roots; or animals, endowed 
with motion, sense, appetite, and abilities to beget their 

Some apply the word nature to everything; as Epicurus 
does, who acknowledges no cause, but atoms, a vacuum, 
and their accidents. But when we’ say that nature forms 
and governs the world, we do not apply it to a clod of 
earth, or piece of stone, or anything of that sort, whose 
parts have not the necessary cohesion,’ but to a tree, in 

' The Stoics. 

? By nulla coherendi natura—if it is the right, as it is the common 
reading—Cicero must mean the same as by nulla crescendi natura, or 
coalescendi, either of which Lambinus proposes; for, as the same learn- 
ed critic well observes, is there not a cohesion of parts in a clod, or in a 
piece of stone? Onur learned Walker proposes sola coherendi natura, 
which mends the sense very much; and I wish he had the authority of 
any copy for it. é 


which there is not the appearance of chance, but of order 
and a resemblance of art. 

XXXII. But if the art of nature gives life and increase 
to vegetables, without doubt it supports the earth itself ; 
for, being impregnated with seeds, she produces every 
kind of vegetable, and embracing their roots, she nourishes 
and increases them; while, in her turn, she receives her 
nourishment from the other elements, and by her exhala- 
tions gives proper sustenance to the air, the sky, and all 
the superior bodies. If nature gives vigor and support to 
the earth, by the same reason she has an influence over 
the rest of the world; for as the earth gives nourishment 
to vegetables, so the air is the preservation of animals, 
The air sees with us, hears with us, and utters sounds 
with us; without it, there would be no seeing, hearing, or 
sounding. It even moves with us; for wherever we go, 
whatever motion we make, it seems to retire and give 
place to us. 

That which inclines to the centre, that which rises from 
it to the surface, and that which rolls about the centre, 
constitute the universal world, and make one entire. nat- 
ure; and as there are four sorts of bodies, the continuance 
of nature is caused by their reciprocal changes; for the 
water arises from the earth, the air from the water, and 
the fire from the air; and, reversing this order, the air 
arises from fire, the water from the air, and from the wa- 
ter the earth, the lowest of the four elements, of which all 
beings are formed. Thus by their continual motions back- 
ward and forward, upward and downward, the conjunc- 
tion of the several parts of the universe is preserved; a 
union which, in the beauty we now behold it, must be 
eternal, or at least of a very long duration, and almost for 
an infinite space of time; and, whichever it is, the uni- 
verse must of consequence be governed by nature. For 
what art of navigating fleets, or of marshalling an army, 
and—to instance the produce of nature—what vine, what 
tree, what animated form and conformation of their mem- 
bers, give us so great an indication of skill as appears in 
the universe? Therefore we must either deny that there 
is the least trace of an intelligent nature, or acknowledge 
that the world is governed by it. But since the universe 


contains all particular beings, as well as their seeds, can 
we say that it is not itself governed by nature? That 
would be the same as saying that the teeth and the beard 
of man are the work of nature, but that the man himself 
is not. Thus the effect would be understood to be great- 
er than the cause. 

XXXIV. Now, the universe sows, as I may say, plants, 
produces, raises, nourishes, and preserves what nature ad- 
ministers, as members and parts of itself. If nature, there- 
fore, governs them, she must also govern the universe. 
And, lastly, in nature’s administration there is nothing 
faulty. She produced the best possible effect out of those 
elements which existed. Let any one show how it could 
have been better. But that can never be; and whoever 
attempts to mend it will either make it worse, or aim at 

But if all the parts of the universe are so constituted 
that nothing could be better for use or beauty, let us con- 
sider whether this is the effect of chance, or whether, in 
such a state they could possibly cohere, but by the direc- 
tion of wisdom and divine providence. Nature, therefore, 
cannot be void of reason, if art can bring nothing to per- 
fection without it, and if the works of nature exceed those 
of art. How is it consistent with common-sense that when 
you view an image or a picture, you imagine it is wrought 
by art; when you behold afar off a ship under sail, you 
judge it is steered by reason and art; when you see a dial 
or water-clock,’ you believe the hours are shown by art, 
and not by chance; and yet that you should imagine that 
the universe, which contains all arts and the artificers, can 
be void of reason and understanding ? 

But if that sphere which was lately made by our friend 
Posidonius, the regular revolutions of which show the 
course of the sun, moon, and five wandering stars, as it is 
every day and night. performed, were carried into Scythia 
or Britain, who, in those barbarous countries, would doubt 
that that sphere had been made so perfect by the exertion 
of reason ? 

XXXV. Yet these people? doubt whether the universe, 

1 Nasica Scipio, the censor, is said to have been the first who made a 
water-clock in Rome. 2 The Epicureans. 


from whence all things arise and are made, is not the ef- 
fect of chance, or some necessity, rather than the work of 
reason and a divine mind. According to them, Archime- 
des shows more knowledge in representing the motions of 
the celestial globe than nature does in causing them, 
though the copy is so infinitely beneath the original. The 
shepherd in Attius,* who had never seen a ship, when he 
perceived from a mountain afar off the divine vessel of the 
Argonauts, surprised and frighted at this new object, ex- 
pressed himself in this manner: 

What horrid bulk is that before my eyes, 
Which o’er the deep with noise and vigor flies ? 
It turns the whirlpools up, its force so strong, 
And drives the billows as it rolls along. 

The ocean’s violence it fiercely braves; 

Runs furious on, and throws about the wayes. 
Swiftly impetuous in its course, and loud, 

Like the dire bursting of a show’ry cloud ; 

Or, like a rock, forced by the winds and rain, 
Now whirl’d aloft, then plunged into the main. 
But hold! perhaps the Earth and Neptune jar, 
And fiercely wage an elemental war ; 

Or ‘Triton with his trident has o’erthrown 

His den, and loosen’d from the roots the stone ; 
The rocky fragment, from the bottom torn, 

Is lifted up, and on the surface borne. 

At first he is in suspense at the sight of this unknown ob- 
ject; but on seeing the young mariners, and hearing their 
singing, he says, 

Like sportive dolphins, with their snouts they roar ;? 
and afterward goes on, 

Lond in my ears methinks their voices ring, 
As if I heard the God Sylvanus sing. 

As at first view the shepherd thinks he sees something 
inanimate and insensible, but afterward, judging by more 

1 An old Latin poet, commended by Quintilian for the gravity of his 
sense and his loftiness of style. ; 

2 The shepherd is here supposed to take the stem or beak of the ship 
for the mouth, from which the roaring voices of the sailors came. Ros- 
trum is here a lucky word to put in the mouth of one who never saw a 
ship before, as it is used for the beak of a bird, the snout of a beast or 
fish, and for the stem of a ship. 


trustworthy indications, he begins to figure to himself 
what it is; so philosophers, if they are surprised at first 
at the sight of the universe, ought, when they have con- 
sidered the regular, uniform, and immutable motions of it, 
to conceive that there is some Being that is not only an 
inhabitant of this celestial and divine mansion, but a ruler 
and a governor, as architect of this mighty fabric. 

XXXVI. Now, in my opinion, they* do not seem to have 
even the least suspicion that the heavens and earth afford 
anything marvellous. For, in the first place, the earth is 
situated in the middle part of the universe, and is sur- 
rounded on all sides by the air, which we breathe, and 
which is called “ aer,”* which, indeed, is a Greek word; but 
by constant use it is well understood by our countrymen, 
for, indeed, it is employed as a Latin word. The air is 
encompassed by the boundless ether (sky), which consists 
of the fires above. This word we borrow also, for we use 
ether in Latin as well as aer; though Pacuvius thus ex- 
presses it, 

—this, of which I speak, 
In Latin’s celum, ether call’d in Greek. 

As‘ though he were not a Greek into whose mouth he puts 
this sentence; but he is speaking in Latin, though we lis- 
ten as if he were speaking Greek ; for, as he says elsewhere, 

His speech discovers him a Grecian born. 

But to return to more important matters. In the sky 
innumerable fiery stars exist, of which the sun is the chief, 
enlightening all with his refulgent splendor, and being by 
many degrees larger than the whole earth; and this mul- 
titude of vast fires are so far from hurting the earth, and 
things terrestrial, that they are of benefit to them ; whereas, 
if they were moved from their stations, we should inevita- 
bly be burned through the want of a proper moderation 
and temperature of heat. 

XXXVII. Is it possible for any man to behold these 
things, and yet imagine that certain solid and individual 
bodies move by their natural force and gravitation, and 
that a world so beautifully adorned was made by their 
fortuitous concourse? He who believes this may as well 

? The Epicureans. 2 Greek, 429; Latin, aer. 

15 te 



believe that if a great quantity of the one-and-twenty let- 
ters, composed either of gold or any other matter, were 
thrown upon the ground, they would fall into such order 
as legibly to form the Annals of Ennius. I doubt whether 
fortune could make a single verse of them. How, there- 
fore, can these people assert that the world was made by 
the fortuitous concourse of atoms, which have no color, no 
quality—which the Greeks call zowrnc, no sense? or that 
there are innumerable worlds, some rising and some per- 
ishing, in every moment of time? But if a concourse of 
atoms can make a world, why not a porch, a temple, a 
house, a city, which are works of less labor and difficulty ? 

Certainly those men talk so idly and inconsiderately 
concerning this lower world that they appear to me never 
to have contemplated the wonderful magnificence of the 
heavens; which is the next topic for our consideration. 

Well, then, did Aristotle’ observe: “If there were men 
whose habitations had been always underground, in great 
and commodious houses, adorned with statues and pict- 
ures, furnished with everything which they who are re- 
puted happy abound with; and if, without stirring from 
thence, they should be informed of a certain divine power 
and majesty, and, after some time, the earth should open, 
and they should quit their dark abode to come to us, 
where they should immediately behold the earth, the seas, 
the heavens; should consider the vast extent of the clouds 
and force of the winds; should see the sun, and observe 
his grandeur and beauty, and also his generative power, 
inasmuch as day is occasioned by the diffusion of his 
light through the sky; and when night has obscured the 
earth, they should contemplate the heavens bespangled 
and adorned with stars, the surprising variety of the moon 
in her increase and wane, the rising and setting of all the 
stars, and the inviolable regularity of their courses ; when,” 
says he, “they should see these things, they would un- 
doubtedly conclude that there are Gods, and that these 
are their mighty works.” 

XXXVIIL Thus far Aristotle. Let us imagine, also, as 
great darkness as was formerly occasioned by the irruption 
of the fires of Mount Aftna, which are said to have ob- 

1 The treatise of Aristotle, from whence this is taken, is lost. 


scured the adjacent countries for two days to such a de- 
gree that no man could recognize his fellow; but on the 
third, when the sun appeared, they seemed to be risen from 
the dead. Now, if we should be suddenly brought from 
a state of eternal darkness to see the light, how beautiful 
would the heavens seem! But our minds have become 
used to it from the daily practice and habituation of our 
eyes, nor do we take the trouble to search into the princi- 
ples of what is always in view; as if the novelty, rather 
than the importance, of things ought to excite us to inves- 
tigate their causes. 

Is he worthy to be called a man who attributes to 
chance, not to an intelligent cause, the constant motion of 
the heavens, the regular courses of the stars, the agreeable 
proportion and connection of all things, conducted with so 
much reason that our intellect itself is unable to estimate 
it rightly? When we see machines move artificially, as 
a sphere, a clock, or the like, do we doubt whether they 
are the productions of reason? And when we behold the 
heavens moving with a prodigious celerity, and causing 
an annual succession of the different seasons of the year, 
which vivify and preserve all things, can we doubt that 
this world is directed, I will not say only by reason, but 
by reason most excellent and divine? | For without troub- 
ling ourselves with too refined a subtlety of discussion, we 
may use our eyes to contemplate the beauty of those things 
which we assert have been arranged by divine providence. 

XXXIX. First, let us examine the earth, whose situa- 
tion is in the middle of the universe,’ solid, round, and 
conglobular by its natural tendency ; clothed with flowers, 
herbs, trees, and fruits; the whole in multitudes incredible, 
and with a variety suitable to every taste: let us consider 
the ever-cool and running springs, the clear waters of the 
rivers, the verdure of their banks, the hollow depths of 
caves, the cragginess of rocks, the heights of impending 
mountains, and the boundless extent of plains, the hidden 
veins of gold and silver, and the infinite quarries of marble. 

1 To the universe the Stoics certainly annexed the idea of a limited 
space, otherwise they could not have talked of a middle; for there can 
be no middle but of a limited space: infinite space can have no middle, 
there being infinite extension from every part. 


What and how various are the kinds of animals, tame 
or wild? The flights and notes of birds? How,do the 
beasts live in the fields and in the forests? What shall I 
say of men, who, being appointed, as we may say, to culti- 
vate the earth, do not suffer its fertility to be choked with 
weeds, nor the ferocity of beasts to make it desolate; who, 
by the houses and cities which they build, adorn the fields, 
the isles, and the shores? If we could view these objects 
with the naked eye, as we can by the contemplation of the 
mind, nobody, at such a sight, would doubt there was a 
divine intelligence. : 

But how beautiful is the sea! How pleasant to see the 
extent of it! What a multitude and variety of islands! 
How delightful are the coasts! What numbers and what 
diversity of inhabitants does it contain; some within the 
bosom of it, some floating on the surface, and others by 
their shells cleaving to the rocks! While the sea itself, 
approaching to the land, sports so closely to its shores 
that those two elements appear to be but one. 

Next above the sea is the air, diversified by day and 
night: when rarefied, it possesses the higher region; when 
condensed, it turns into clouds, and with the waters which 
it gathers enriches the earth by the rain. Its agitation 
produces the winds. It causes heat and cold according to 
the different seasons. It sustains birds in their flight; 
and, being inhaled, nourishes and preserves all animated 

XL. Add to these, which alone remaineth to be men- 
tioned, the firmament of heaven, a region the farthest from 
our abodes, which surrounds and contains all things. It 
is likewise called ether, or sky, the extreme bounds and 
limits of the universe, in which the stars perform their 
appointed courses in a most wonderful manner; among 
which, the sun, whose magnitude far surpasses the earth, 
makes his revolution round it, and by his rising and set- 
ting causes day and night; sometimes coming near tow- 
ards the earth, and sometimes going from it, he every 
year makes two contrary reversions’ from the extreme 

1 These two contrary reversions are from the tropics of Cancer and 

Capricorn, They are the extreme bounds of the sun’s course. The 
reader must observe that the astronomical parts of this book are intro- 


point of its course. In his retreat the earth seems locked 
up ingsadness; in his return it appears exhilarated with 
the heavens. The moon, which, as mathematicians demon- 
strate, is bigger than half the earth, makes her revolutions 
through the same spaces’ as the sun; but at one time ap- 
proaching, and at another receding from, the sun, she dif- 
fuses the light which she has borrowed from him over the 
-whole earth, and has herself also many various changes in 
her appearance. When she is found under the sun, and op- 
posite to it, the brightness of her rays is lost; but when 
the earth directly interposes between the moon and sun, the 
moon is totally eclipsed. The other wandering stars have 
their courses round the earth in the same spaces,’ and rise 
and set in the same manner; their motions are sometimes 
quick, sometimes slow, and often they stand still. There is 
nothing more wonderful, nothing more beautiful. Thereisa 
vast number of fixed stars, distinguished by the names of cer- 
tain figures, to which we find they have some resemblance. 

XLI. I will here, says Balbus, looking at me, make use 
of the verses which, when you were young, you translated 
from Aratus,’ and which, because they are in Latin, gave 
me so much delight that I have many of them still in my 
memory. As then, we daily see, without any change or 

—the rest* 

Swiftly pursue the course to which they’re bound ; 
And with the heavens the days and nights go round; 

the contemplation of which, to a mind desirous of obsery- 
ing the constancy of nature, is inexhaustible. 

The extreme top of either point is call’d 
The pole.°® 

duced by the Stoic as proofs of design and reason in the universe; and, 
notwithstanding the errors in his planetary system, his intent is well an- 
swered, because all he means is that the regular motions of the heaven- 
ly bodies, and their dependencies, are demonstrations of a divine mind. 
‘The inference proposed to be drawn from his astronomical observations 
is as just as if his system was in every part unexceptionably right: the 
same may be said of his anatomical observations. 

1 In the zodiac. ® Thid. 

* These verses of Cicero are a translation from a Greek poem of Ara- 
tus, called the Phenomena. 

* The fixed stars. ° The arctic and antarctic poles. 


About this the two ”Apxro are turned, which never set ; 

Of these, the Greeks one Cynosura call, ° 
The other Helice.? . 

The brightest stars,’ indeed, of Helice are discernible all 
Which are by us Septentriones call’d. 

Cynosura moves about the same pole, with a like number 
of stars, and ranged in the same order: 

This* the Pheenicians choose to make their guide 
When on the ocean in the night they ride. 
Adorned with stars of more refulgent light, 

The other* shines, and first appears at night. 
Though this is small, sailors its use have found; 
More inward is its course, and short its round. 

XLII. The aspect of those stars is the more admirable, 

The Dragon grim between them bends his way, 
As through the winding banks the currents stray, 
And up and down in sinuous bending rolls.° 

His whole form is excellent; but the shape of his head 
and the ardor of his eyes are most remarkable. 

Various the stars which deck his glittering head ; 
His temples are with double glory spread ; 

From his fierce eyes two fervid lights afar 

Flash, and his chin shines with one radiant star ; 
Bow’d is his head ; and his round neck he bends, 
And to the tail of Helice® extends. 

The rest of the Dragon’s body we see’ at every hour in 
the night. 

1 The two Arctoi are northern constellations. Cynosura is what we 
call the Lesser Bear; Helice, the Greater Bear; in Latin, Ursa Minor 
and Ursa Major. ‘ 

? These stars in the Greater Bear are vulgarly called the ‘‘ Seven 
Stars,” or the ‘‘ Northern Wain ;” by the Latins, ‘‘ Septentriones.” 

’ The Lesser Bear. * The Greater Bear. 

® Exactly agreeable to this and the following description of the Drag- 
on is the same northern constellation described in the map by Flam- 
steed in his Atlas Ccelestis; and all the figures here described by Ara- 
tus nearly agree with the maps of the same constellations in the Atlas 
Ceelestis, though they are not all placed precisely alike. 

® ‘The tail of the Greater Bear. 

7 ‘That is, in Macedon, where Aratus lived. 


Here’ suddenly the head a little hides 
Itself, where all its parts, which are in sight, 
And those unseen in the same place unite, 

Near to this head 

Is placed the figure of a man that moves 
Weary and sad, 

which the Greeks 

Engonasis do call, because he’s borne” 
About with bended knee. Near him is placed 
The crown with a refulgent lustre graced. 

This indeed is at his back; but Anguitenens (the Snake- 
holder) is near his head ;* 

The Greeks him Ophiuchus call, renown’d 

The name. He strongly grasps the serpent round 
With both his hands; himself the serpent folds 
Beneath his breast, and round his middle holds ; 
Yet gravely he, bright shining in the skies, 

Moves on, and treads on Nepa’s* breast and eyes. 

The Septentriones® are followed by— 

Arctophylax,® that’s said to be the same 
Which we Bootes call, who has the name, 
Because he drives the Greater Bear along 
Yoked to a wain. 

Besides, in Bodtes, 

A star of glittering rays about his waist, 
Arcturus called, a name renown’d, is placed.” 

1 The true interpretation of this passage is as follows: Here in Mac- 
edon, says Aratus, the head of the Dragon does not entirely immerge 
itself in the ocean, but only touches the superficies of it. By ortus and 
obitus I doubt not but Cicero meant, agreeable to Aratus, those parts 
which arise to view, and those which are removed from sight. 

? These are two northern constellations. Engonasis, in some cata- 
logues called Hercules, because he is figured kneeling év yévaov (on his 
knees). ’Evyévaovv xadéovo’, as Aratus says, they call Engonasis. 

* ‘The crown is placed under the feet of Hercules in the Atlas Ceeles- 
tis; but Ophiuchus (O¢coi,yo¢), the Snake-holder, is placed in the map 
by Flamsteed as described here by Aratus; and their heads almost meet. 

* The Scorpion. Ophiuchus, though a northern constellation, is not 
far from that part of the zodiac where the Scorpion is, which is one of 
the six southern signs. * The Wain of seven stars. 

° The Wain-driver. This northern constellation is, in our present 
‘maps, figured with a club in his right hand behind the Greater Bear. 

In some modern maps Arcturus, a star of the first magnitude, is placed 
in the belt that is round the waist of Bodtes, Cicero says subter precordia, 
which is about the waist; and Aratus says id COvy, under the belt, 


Beneath which is 
The Virgin of illustrious form, whose hand 
Holds a bright spike. 
XLII. And truly these signs are so regularly disposed 
that a divine wisdom evidently appears in them: 
Beneath the Bear’s’ head have the Twins their seat, 
Under his chest the Crab, beneath his feet 
The mighty Lion darts a trembling flame.* 
The Charioteer 
On the left side of Gemini we see,* 
And at his head behold fierce Helice ; 
On his left shoulder the bright Goat appears. 
But to proceed— 
This is indeed a great and glorious star, 
On th’ other side the Kids, inferior far, 
Yield but a slender light to mortal eyes. 

Under his feet 
The horned bull,‘ with sturdy limbs, is placed: 

his head is spangled with a number of stars; 
These by the Greeks are called the Hyades, 
from raining; for te» is to rain: therefore they are in- 
judiciously called Sucule by our people, as if they had 
their name from ic, a sow, and not from tw. 
Behind the Lesser Bear, Cepheus’ follows with extended 

For close behind the Lesser Bear he comes. 

1 Sub caput Arcti, under the head of the Greater Bear. 

? The Crab is, by the ancients and moderns, placed in the zodiac, as 
here, between the Tivins and the Lion; and they are all three northern 
* The Twins are placed in the zodiac with the side of one to the 
northern hemisphere, and the side of the other to the southern hemi- 
sphere. Auriga, the Charioteer, is placed in the northern hemisphere 
near the zodiac, by the Twins; and at the head of the Charioteer is Hel- 
ice, the Greater Bear, placed; and the Goat is a bright star of the first 
magnitude placed on the left shoulder of this northern constellation, and 
called Capra, the Goat. Hadi, the Kids, are two more stars of the same 

* A constellation; one of the northern signs in the zodiac, in which 
the Hyades are placed. 

® One of the feet of Cepheus, a northern constellation, is under the tail 
of the Lesser Bear. 


Before him goes 
Cassiopea' with a faintish light ; 
But near her moves (fair and illustrious sight!) 
Andromeda,” who, with an eager pace, 
Seems to avoid her parent’s mournful face.* 
With glittering mane the Horse* now seems to tread, 
So near he comes, on her refulgent head ; 
With a fair star, that close to him appears, 
A double form® and but one light he wears ; 
By which he seems ambitious in the sky 
An everlasting knot.of stars to tie. 
Near him the Ram, with wreathed horns, is placed ; 

by whom 
The Fishes® are; of which one seems to haste 

Somewhat before the other, to the blast 
Of the north wind exposed, 

XLIV. Perseus is described as placed at the feet of An- 

And him the sharp blasts of the north wind beat. 
Near his left knee, but dim their light, their seat 
The small Pleiades’ maintain. We find, 

Not far from them, the Lyre® but slightly join’d. 
Next is the winged Bird,’ that seems to fly 
Beneath the spacious covering of the sky. 

1 Grotius, and after him Dr. Davis, and other learned men, read Cas- 
siepea, after the Greek Kaooiereca, and reject the common reading, Cas- 

These northern constellations here mentioned have been always 
placed together as one family with Cepheus and Perseus, as they are in 
our modern maps. 

* This alludes to the fable of Perseus and Andromeda. 

* Pegasus, who is one of Perseus and Andromeda’s family. 

® That is, with wings. 

® Aries, the Ram, is the first northern sign in the zodiac; Pisces, the 
Fishes, the last southern sign; therefore they must be near one another, 
as they are in a circle or belt. In Flamsteed’s Atlas Ceelestis one of the 
Fishes is near the head of the Ram, and the other near the Urn of Aqua- 

7 These are called Virgilix by Cicero; by Aratus, the Pleiades, 
MlAniddec; and they are placed at the neck of the Bull; and one of 
Perseus’s feet touches the Bull in the Atlas Ccelestis. 

* This northern constellation is called Fides by Cicero; but it must be 
the same with Lyra; because Lyra is placed in our maps as Fides is here, 

® This is called Ales Avis by Cicero; and I doubt not but the northern 
constellation Cygnus is here to be understood, for the description and 
place of the Swan in the Atlas Ceelestis are the same which Ales Avis 
has here. 



Near the head of the Horse’ lies the right hand of Aqua- 
rius, then all Aquarius himself.’ 

Then Capricorn, with half the form of beast, 

Breathes chill and piercing colds from his strong breast, 
And in a spacious circle takes his round ; 

When him, while in the winter solstice bound, 

The sun has visited with constant light, 

He turns his course, and shorter makes the night.® 

Not far from hence is seen 

The Scorpion‘ rising lofty from below ; 

By him the Archer,* with his bended bow; 
Near him the Bird, with gaudy feathers spread ; 
And the fierce Eagle® hovers o’er his head. 

Next comes the Dolphin ;’ 

Then bright Orion,® who obliquely moves ; 
he is followed by 

The fervent Dog,® bright with refulgent stars: 
next the Hare follows” 

Unwearied in his course. At the Dog’s tail 
Argo” moves on, and moving seems to sail; 
O’er her the Ram and Fishes have their place ;” 
The illustrious vessel touches, in her pace, 

The river’s banks ;** 

which you may see winding and extending itself to a great 

1 Pegasus. 

? The Water-bearer, one of the six southern signs in the zodiac: he is 
described in our maps pouring water out of an urn, and leaning with one 
hand on the tail of Capricorn, another southern sign. 

* When the sun is in Capricorn, the days are at the shortest; and 
when in Cancer, at the longest. 

* One of the six southern signs. 

5 Sagittarius, another southern sign. ° A northern constellation. 

7 A northern constellation. ® A southern constellation. 

® This is Canis Major, a southern constellation. Orion and the Dog 
are named together by Hesiod, who flourished many hundred years be- 
fore Cicero or Aratus. 

#” A southern constellation, placed as here in the Atlas Ceelestis. 

” A southern constellation, so called from the ship Argo, in which Ja- 
son and the rest of the Argonauts sailed on their expedition to Colchos. 

™ The Ram is the first of the northern signs in the zodiac; and the 
last southern sign is the Fishes; which two signs, meeting in the zodiac, 
cover the constellation called Argo. 

*® The river Eridanus, a southern constellation. 


The Fetters! at the Fishes’ tails are hung. 
By Nepa’s* head behold the Altar stand,* 
Which by the breath of southern winds is fann’d ; 

near which the Centaur* 

Hastens his mingled parts to join beneath 

The Serpent,® there extending his right hand, 
To where you see the monstrous Scorpion stand, 
Which he at the bright Altar fiercely slays. 
Here on her lower parts see Hydra’ raise 
Herself; — 

whose bulk is very far extended. 

Amid the winding of her body ’s placed 
The shining Goblet ;7 and the glossy Crow* 
Plunges his beak into her parts below. 
Antecanis beneath the Twins is seen, 
Call’d Procyon by the Greeks.° 

Can any one in his senses imagine that this disposition 
of the stars, and this heaven so beautifully adorned, could 
ever have been formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms ? 
Or what other nature, being destitute of intellect and rea- 
son, could possibly have produced these effects, which not 
only required reason to bring them about, but the very 
character of which could not be understood and appreci- 
ated without the most strenuous exertions of well-directed 
reason ? 

XLV. But our admiration is not limited to the objects 
here described. What is most wonderful is that the world 
is so durable, and so perfectly made for lasting that it is 
not to be impaired by time; for all its parts tend equally 
to the centre, and are bound together by a sort of chain, 
which surrounds the elements. This chain is nature, which 

1 A southern constellation. 

? This is called the Scorpion in the original of Aratus. 

* A southern constellation. * A southern constellation. 

® The Serpent is not mentioned in Cicero’s translation ; but it is in the 
original of Aratus. 

® A southern constellation. 

7 The Goblet, or Cup, a southern constellation. 

*® A southern constellation. 

® Antecanis, a southern constellation, is the Little Dog, and called 
Antecanis in Latin, and Ipoxtwv in Greek, because he rises before the 
other Dog. 


being diffused through the universe, and performing all 
things with judgment and reason, attracts the extremities 
to the centre. 

If, then, the world is round, and if on that account all 
its parts, being of equal dimensions and relative propor- 
tions, mutually support and are supported by one another, 
it must follow that as all the parts incline to the centre 
(for that is the lowest place of a globe) there is nothing 
whatever which can put a stop to that propensity in the 
case of such great weights. For the same reason, though 
the sea is higher than the earth, yet because it has the like 
tendency, it is collected everywhere, equally concentres, and 
never overflows, and is never wasted. 

The air, which is contiguous, ascends by its lightness, 
but diffuses itself through the whole; therefore it is by 
nature joined and united to the sea, and at the same time 
borne by the same power towards the heaven, by the thin- 
ness and heat of which it is so tempered as to be made 
proper to supply life and wholesome air for the support 
of animated beings. This is encompassed by the highest 
region of the heavens, which is called the sky, which is 
joined to the extremity of the air, but retains its own heat 

ure and unmixed. 

XLVI. The stars have their revolutions in the sky, and 
are continued by the tendency of all parts towards the cen- 
tre. Their duration is perpetuated by their form and fig- 
ure, for they are round; which form, as I think has been 
before observed, is the least liable to injury; and as they 
are composed of fire, they are fed by the vapors which are 
exhaled by the sun from the earth, the sea, and other wa- 
ters; but when these vapors have nourished and refreshed 
the stars, and the whole sky, they are sent back to be ex- 
haled again; so that very little is lost or consumed by the 
fire of the stars and the flame of the sky. Hence we Sto- 
ics conclude—which Panetius’ is said to have doubted of 
—that the whole world at last would be consumed by a 
general conflagration, when, all moisture being exhausted, 
neither the earth could have any nourishment, nor the air 
return again, since water, of which it is formed, would then 
be all consumed; so that only fire would subsist; and 

? Panetius, a Stoic philosopher. 


from this fire, which is an animating power and a Deity, a 
new world would arise and be re-established in the same 

I should be sorry to appear to you to dwell too long 
upon this subject of the stars, and more especially upon 
that of the planets, whose motions, though different, make 
a very just agreement. Saturn, the highest, chills; Mars, 
placed in the middle, burns; while Jupiter, interposing, 
moderates their excess, both of light and heat. The two 
planets beneath Mars’ obey the sun. The sun himself fills 
the whole universe with his own genial light; and the 
moon, illuminated by him, influences conception, birth, and 
maturity. And who is there who is not moved by this 
union of things, and by this concurrence of nature agree- 
ing together, as it were, for the safety of the world? And 
yet I feel sure that none of these reflections have ever been 
made by these men. 

XLVI. Let us proceed from celestial to terrestrial 
things. What is there in them which does not prove the 
principle of an intelligent nature? First, as to vegetables ; 
they have roots to sustain their stems, and to draw from 
the earth a nourishing moisture to support the vital prin- 
ciple which those roots contain. They are clothed with a 
rind or bark, to secure them more thoroughly from heat 
and cold. The vines we see take hold on props with their 
tendrils, as if with hands, and raise themselves as if they 
were animated; it is even said that they shun cabbages 
and coleworts, as noxious and pestilential to them, and, if 
planted by them, will not touch any part. 

But what a vast variety is there of animals! and how 
wonderfully is every kind adapted to preserve itself! Some 
are covered with hides, some clothed with fleeces, and 
some guarded with bristles; some are sheltered with feath- 
ers, some with scales; some are armed with horns, and 
some are furnished with wings to escape from danger. 
Nature hath also liberally and plentifully provided for all 
animals their proper food. I could expatiate on the ju- 
dicious and curious formation and disposition of their 
bodies for the reception and digestion of it, for all their 
interior parts are so framed and disposed that there is 

* Mercury and Venus. 


nothing superfluous, nothing that is not necessary for the 
preservation of life. Besides, nature has also given these 
beasts appetite and sense; in order that by the one they 
‘may be excited to procure sufficient sustenance, and by the 
other they may distinguish what is noxious from what is 
salutary. Some animals seek their food walking, some 
creeping, some flying, and some swimming; some take it 
with their mouth and teeth; some seize it with their claws, 
and some with their beaks; some suck, some graze, some 
bolt it whole, and some chew it. Some are so low that 
they can with ease take such food as is to be found on the 
ground; but the taller, as geese, swans, cranes, and camels, 
are assisted by a length of neck. To the elephant is given 
a hand,’ without which, from his unwieldiness of fe 8 he 
would scarce have any means of attaining food. 

XLVIII. But to those beasts which live by preying on 
others, nature has given either strength or swiftness. On 
some animals she has even bestowed artifice and cunning; 
as on spiders, some of which weave a sort of net to entrap 
and destroy whatever falls into it, others sit on the watch 
unobserved to fall on their prey and devour it. The naker 
—by the Greeks called Pinna—has a kind of confedera- 
cy with the prawn for procuring food. It has two large 
shells open, into which when the little fishes swim, the 
naker, having notice given by the bite of the prawn, closes 
them immediately. Thus, these little animals, though of 
different kinds, seek their food in common; in which it 
is matter of wonder whether they associate by any agree- 
ment, or are naturally joined together from their begin- 

There is some cause to admire also the provision of nat- 
ure in the case of those aquatic animals which are gener- 
ated on land, such as crocodiles, river-tortoises, and a cer- 
tain kind of serpents, which seek the water as soon as they 
are able to drag themselves along. We frequently put 
duck-eggs under hens, by which, as by their true mothers, 
the ducklings are at first hatched and nourished ; but when 
they see the water, they forsake them and run to it, as to 

' The proboscis of the elephant is frequently called a hand, because it 

is as useful to him as one. ‘‘'They breathe, drink, and smell, with what 
may not be improperly called a hand,” says Pliny, bk. viii. c. 10.—Davis. 


their natural abode: so strong is the impression of nature 
in animals for their own preservation. 

XLIX. I have read that there is a bird called Platalea 
(the shoveller), that lives by watching those fowls which 
dive into the sea for their prey, and when they return with 
it, he squeezes their heads with his beak till they drop it, 
and then seizes on it himself. It is said likewise that he is 
in the habit of filling his stomach with shell-fish, and when 
they are digested by the heat which exists in the stomach, 
they cast them up, and then pick out what is proper nour- 
ishment. The sea-frogs, they say, are wont to cover them- 
selves with sand, and moving near the water, the fishes 
strike at them, as at a bait, and are themselves taken and 

devoured by the frogs. Between the kite and the crow ye 

there is a kind of natural war, and wherever the one finds 
the eggs of the other, he breaks them. 

But who is there who can avoid being struck with won- 
der at that which has been noticed by Aristotle, who has 
enriched us with so many valuable remarks? When the 
cranes’ pass the sea in search of warmer climes, they fly 
in the form of a triangle. By the first angle they repel 
the resisting air; on each side, their wings serve as oars 
to facilitate their flight; and the basis of their triangle is 
assisted by the wind in their stern. Those which are be- 
hind rest their necks and heads on those which precede; 
and as the leader has not the same relief, becanse he has 
none to lean upon, he at length flies behind that he may 
also rest, while one of those which have been eased suc- 
ceeds him, and through the whole flight each regularly 
takes his turn. 

I could produce many instances of this kind; but these 
may suffice. Let us now proceed to things more famil- 
iar to us. The care of beasts for their own preservation, 
their cireumspection while feeding, and their manner of 
taking rest in their lairs, are generally known, but still 
they are greatly to be admired. 

L. Dogs cure themselves by a vomit, the Egyptian ibis 
by a purge; from whence physicians have lately—I mean 
but few ages since—greatly improved their art. It is re- 

1 The passage of Aristotle’s works to which Cicero here alludes is 
entirely lost ; but Plutarch gives a similar account. 

| 25 


ported that panthers, which in barbarous countries are 
taken with poisoned flesh, have a certain remedy’ that 
preserves them from dying; and that in Crete, the wild 
goats, when they are wounded with poisoned arrows, seek 
for an herb called dittany, which, when they have tasted, 
the arrows (they say) drop from their bodies. It is said 
also that deer, before they fawn, purge themselves with a 
little herb called hartswort.* Beasts, when they receive 
any hurt, or fear it, have recourse to their natural arms: 
the bull to his horns, the boar to his tusks, and the lion to 
his teeth. Some take to flight, others hide themselves; 
the cuttle-fish vomits’ blood; the cramp-fish benumbs; 
and there are many animals that, by their intolerable 
stink, oblige their pursuers to retire. 

LI. But that the beauty of the world might be eternal, 
great care has been taken by the providence of the Gods 
to perpetuate the different kinds of animals, and vegeta- 
bles, and trees, and all those things which sink deep into 
the earth, and are contained ‘in it by their roots and 
trunks; in order to which every individual has within it- 
self such fertile seed that many are generated from one; 
and in vegetables this seed is enclosed in the heart of their 
fruit, but in such abundance that men may plentifully feed 
on it, and the earth be always replanted. 

With regard to animals, do we not see how aptly they 
are formed for the propagation of their species? Nature 
for this end created some males and some females. Their 
parts are perfectly framed for generation, and they have 
a wonderful propensity to copulation. When the seed 
has fallen on the matrix, it draws almost all the nour- 
ishment to itself, by which the fetus is formed; but as 
soon as it is discharged from thence, if it is an animal that 
is nourished by milk, almost all the food of the mother 
turns into milk, and. the animal, without any direction but 
by the pure instinct of nature, immediately hunts for the 

‘ Balbus does not tell us the remedy which the panther makes use 
of; but Pliny is not quite so delicate: he says, excrementis hominis sibi 

? Aristotle says they purge themselves with this herb after they fawn. 
Pliny says both before and after. 

* The cuttle-fish has a bag at its neck, the black blood of which the 
Romans used for ink. It was called atramentum. 


teat, and is there fed with plenty. What makes it evi- 
dently appear that there is nothing in this fortuitous, but 
the work of a wise and foreseeing nature, is, that those 
females which bring forth many young, as sows and 
bitches, have many teats, and those which bear a small 
number have but few. What tenderness do beasts show 
in preserving and raising up their young till they are 
able to defend themselves! They say, indeed, that fish, 
when they have spawned, leave their eggs; but the wa- 
ter easily supports them, and produces the young fry i in 

LIL. It is said, likewise, that tortoises and crocodiles, 
when they have laid theig eggs on the land, only cover 
them with earth, and then leave them, so that their young 
are hatched and brought up without assistance; but fowls 
and other birds seek for quiet places to lay in, where they 
build their nests in the softest manner, for the surest pres- 
ervation of their eggs; which, when they have hatched, 
they defend from the cold by the warmth of their wings, 
or screen them from the sultry heat of the sun. When 
their young begin to be able to use their wings, they at- 
tend and instruct them; and then their cares are at an 

Human art and industry are indeed necessary towards 
the preservation and improvement of certain animals and 
vegetables; for there are several of both kinds which 
would perish without that assistance. There are likewise 
innumerable facilities (being different in different places) 
supplied to man to aid him in his civilization, and in pro- 
curing abundantly what he requires. The Nile waters 
Egypt, and after having overflowed and covered it the 
whole summer, it retires, and leaves the fields softened 
and manured for the reception of seed. The Euphrates 
fertilizes Mesopotamia, into which, as we may say, it car- 
ries yearly new fields. The Indus, which is the largest of 
all rivers,’ not only improves and cultivates the ground, 

? The Euphrates is said to carry into Mesopotamia a large quantity ~ 
of citrons, with which it covers the fields. 

2 Q. Curtius, and some other authors, say the Ganges is the largest 
river in India; but Ammianus Marcellinus concurs with Cicero in call- 
ing the river Indus the largest of all rivers. 


but sows it also; for it is said to carry with it a great 
quantity of grain. I could mention many other countries 
remarkable for something singular, and many fields, which 
are, in their own natures, exceedingly fertile. 

LIII. But how bountiful is nature that has provided for 
us such an abundance of various and delicious food; and 
this varying with the different seasons, so that we may be 
constantly pleased with change, and satisfied with abun- 
dance! How seasonable and useful to man, to beasts, and 
even to vegetables, are the Etesian winds’ she has bestow- 
ed, which moderate intemperate heat, and render naviga- 
tion more sure and speedy! Many things must be omitted 
on a subject so copious -— — still a great deal must be 
said—for it is impossible to relate the great utility of riv- 
ers, the flux and reflux of the sea, the mountains clothed 
with grass and trees, the salt-pits remote from the sea- 
coasts, the earth replete with salutary medicines, or, in 
short, the innumerable designs of nature necessary for 
sustenance and the enjoyment of life. We must not for- 
get the vicissitudes of day and night, ordained for the 
health of animated beings, giving them a time to labor 
and a time to rest. Thus, if we every way examine the 
universe, it is apparent, from the greatest reason, that the 
whole is admirably governed by a divine providence for 
the safety and preservation of all beings. 

If it should be asked for whose sake this mighty fabric 
was raised, shall we say for trees and other vegetables, 
which, though destitute of sense, are supported by nature ? 
That would be absurd. Is it for beasts? Nothing can 
be less probable than that the Gods should have taken 
such pains for beings void of speech and understanding. 
For whom, then, will any one presume to say that the 
world was made? Undoubtedly for reasonable beings; 
these are the Gods and men, who are certainly the most 
perfect of all beings, as nothing is equal to reason. It is 
therefore credible that the universe, and all things in it, 
were made for the Gods and for men. 

But we may yet more easily comprehend that the Gods 
have taken great care of the interests and welfare of men, 

? These Etesian winds return periodically once a year, and blow at 
certain seasons, and for a certain time. 

cM ates 



if we examine thoroughly into the structure of the body, 
and the form and perfection of human nature. There are 
three things absolutely necessary for the support of life— 
to eat, to drink, and to breathe. For these operations the 
mouth is most aptly framed, which, by the assistance of 
the nostrils, draws in the more air. 

LIV. The teeth are there placed to divide and grind the 
food.* The fore-teeth, being sharp and opposite to each 
other, cut it asunder, and the hind-teeth (called the grind- 
ers) chew it, in which office the tongue seems to assist. 
At the root of the tongue is the gullet, which receives 
whatever is swallowed: it touches the tonsils on each 
side, and terminates at the interior extremity of the palate. 
When, by the motions of the tongue, the food is forced 
into this passage, it descends, and those parts of the gullet 
which are below it are dilated, and those above are con- 
tracted. There is another passage, called by physicians 
the rough artery,’ which reaches to the lungs, for the en- 
trance and return of the air we breathe; and as its orifice 
is joined to the roots of the tongue a little above the part 
to which the gullet is annexed, it is furnished with a sort 
of coverlid,* lest, by the accidental falling of any food into 
it, the respiration should be stopped. 

As the stomach, which is beneath the gullet, receives the 
meat and drink, so the lungs and the heart draw in the 
air from without. The stomach is wonderfully composed, 
consisting almost wholly of nerves; it abounds with mem- 
branes and fibres, and detains what it receives, whether 
solid or liquid, till it is altered and digested. It some- 
times contracts, sometimes dilates. It blends and mixes 
the food together, so that it is easily concocted and di- 
Geta by its force of heat, and by the animal spirits is 

istributed into the other parts of the body. 

LV. As to the lungs, they are of a soft and spongy sub- 
stance, which renders them the most commodious for res- 

1 Some read mollitur, and some molitur; the latter of which P. Ma- 
nucius justly prefers, from the verb molo, molis; from whence, says he, 
molares dentes, the grinders. 

? The weasand, or windpipe. 

’ The epiglottis, which is a cartilaginous flap in the shape of a tongue, 
and therefore called so, 


piration; they alternately dilate and contract to receive 
and return the air, that what is the chief animal suste- 
nance may be always fresh. The juice,’ by which we are 
nourished, being separated from the rest of the food, passes 
the stomach and intestines to the liver, through open and 
direct passages, which lead from the mesentery to the 
gates of the liver (for so they call those vessels at the en-. 
trance of it). There are other passages from thence, 
through which the food has its course when it has passed 
the liver. When the bile, and those humors which pro- 
ceed from the kidneys, are separated from the food, the re- 
maining part turns to blood, and flows to those vessels at 
the entrance of the liver to which all the passages adjoin. 
The chyle, being conveyed from this place through them 
into the vessel called the hollow vein, is mixed together, 
and, being already digested and distilled, passes into the 
heart; and from the heart it is communicated through a 
great number of veins to every part of the body. 

It is not difficult to describe how the gross remains are 
detruded by the motion of the intestines, which contract 
and dilate; but that must be declined, as too indelicate 
for discourse. Let us rather explain that other wonder of 
nature, the air, which is drawn into the lungs, receives 
heat both by that already in and by the coagitation of the 
lungs; one part is turned back by respiration, and the oth- 
er is received into a place called the ventricle of the heart.’ 
There is another ventricle like it annexed to the heart, into 
which the blood flows from the liver through the hollow 
vein. Thus by one ventricle the blood is diffused to the 
extremities through the veins, and by the other the breath 
is communicated through the arteries ; and there are such 
numbers of both dispersed through the whole body that 
they manifest a divine art. 

Why need I speak of the bones, those supports of the 
body, whose joints are so wonderfully contrived for sta- 
bility, and to render the limbs complete with regard to mo- 
tion and to every action of the body? Or need I mention 

? Cicero is here giving the opinion of the ancients concerning the pas- 
sage of the chyle till it is converted to blood. 

? What Cicero here calls the ventricles of the heart are likewise called 
auricles, of which there is te right and left. 


the nerves, by which the limbs are governed—their many 
interweavings, and their proceeding from the heart,’ from 
whence, like the veins and arteries, they have their origin, 
and are distributed through the whole corporeal frame? 

LVI. To this skill of nature; and this care of providence, 
so diligent and so ingenious, many reflections may be add- 
ed, which show what valuable things the Deity has be- 
stowed on man. He has made us of a stature tall and up- 
right, in order that we might behold the heavens, and so 
arrive at the knowledge of the Gods; for men are not 
simply to dwell here as inhabitants of the earth, but to be, 
as it were, spectators of the heavens and the stars, which 
is a privilege not granted to any other kind of animated 
beings. The senses, which are the interpreters and mes- 
sengers of things, are placed in the head, as in a tower, 
and wonderfully situated for their proper uses; for the 
eyes, being in the highest part, have the office of sentinels, 
in discovering to us objects; and the ears are convenient- 
ly placed in a high part of the person, being appointed to 
receive sound, which naturally ascends. The nostrils have 
the like situation, because all scent likewise ascends; and 
they have, with great reason, a near vicinity to the mouth, 
because they assist us in judging of meat and drink. The 
taste, which is to distinguish the quality of what we take, 
is in that part of the mouth where nature has laid open 
a passage for what we eat and drink. But the touch is 
equally diffused through the whole body, that we may not 
receive any blows, or the too rigid attacks of cold and 
heat, without feeling them. And as in building the archi- 
tect averts from the eyes and nose of the master those 
things which must necessarily be offensive, so has nature 
removed far from our senses what is of the same kind in 
the human body. 

LVI. What artificer but nature, whose direction-is in- 
comparable, could have exhibited so much ingenuity in the 
formation of the senses? In the first place, she has coy- 
ered and invested the eyes with the finest membranes, 
which she hath made transparent, that we may see through 

1 The Stoics and Peripatetics said that the nerves, veins, and arteries 
come directly from the heart. According to the anatomy of the mod- 
erns, they come from the brain. 


them, and firm in their texture, to preserve the eyes. She 
has made them slippery and movable, that they might 
avoid what would offend them, and easily direct the sight 
wherever they will. The actual organ of sight, which is 
called the pupil, is so smal that it can easily shun what- 
ever might be hurtful to it. The eyelids, which are their 
coverings, are soft and smooth, that they may not injure 
the eyes; and are made to shut at the apprehension of any 
accident, or to open at pleasure; and these movements 
nature has ordained to be made in an instant: they are 
fortified with a sort of palisade of hairs, to keep off what 
may be noxious to them when open, and to be a fence to 
their repose when sleep closes them, and allows them to 
rest as if they were wrapped up in a case. Besides, they 
are commodiously hidden and defended by eminences on 
every side; for on the upper part the eyebrows turn aside 
the perspiration which falls from the head and forehead ; 
the cheeks beneath rise a little, so as to protect them on 
the lower side; and the nose is placed between them as a 
wall of separation. — 

The hearing is always open, for that is a sense of which 
we are in need even while we are sleeping; and the mo- 
ment that any sound is admitted by it we are awakened 
even from sleep. It has a winding passage, lest anything 
should slip into it, as it might if it were straight and sim- 
ple. Nature also hath taken the same precaution in mak- 
ing there a viscous humor, that if any little creatures should 
endeavor to creep in, they might stick in it as in bird- 
lime. The ears (by which we mean the outward part) 
are made prominent, to cover and preserve the hearing, 
lest the sound should be dissipated and escape before the 
sense is affected. ‘Their entrances are hard and horny, 
and their form winding, because bodies of this kind better 
return and increase the sound. This appears in the harp, 
lute, or horn;’ and from all tortuous and enclosed places 
sounds are returned stronger. 

The nostrils, in like manner, are ever open, because we 
have a continual use for them; and their entrances also 
are rather narrow, lest anything noxious should enter 

1 The author means all musical instruments, whether string or wind ~ 
instruments, which are hollow and tortuous, 

ee ee 


them; and they have always a humidity necessary for 
the repelling dust and many other extraneous bodies. 
The taste, having the mouth for an enclosure, is admira- 
bly situated, both in regard to the use we make of it and 
to its security. 

LVIII. Besides, every human sense is much more ex- 
quisite than those of brutes; for our eyes, in those arts 
which come under their judgment, distinguish with great 
nicety; as in painting, sculpture, engraving, and in the 
gesture and motion of bodies. They understand the beau- 
ty, proportion, and, as I may so term it, the becomingness 
of colors and figures; they distinguish things of greater 
importance, even virtues and vices; they know whether a 
man is angry or calm, cheerful or sad, courageous or cow- 
ardly, bold or timorous. 

The judgment of the ears is not less admirably and 
scientifically contrived with regard to vocal and instru- 
mental music. They distinguish the variety of sounds, 
the measure, the stops, the different sorts of voices, the 
treble and the base, the soft and the harsh, the sharp and 
the flat, of which human ears only are capable to judge. 
There is likewise great judgment in the smell, the taste, 
and the touch; to indulge and gratify which senses more 
arts have been invented than I could wish: it is apparent 
to what excess we have arrived in the composition of our 
perfumes, the preparation of our food, and the enjoyment 
of corporeal pleasures. 

LIX. Again, he who does not perceive the soul and 
mind of man, his reason, prudence, and discernment, to 
be the work of a divine providence, seems himself to be 
destitute of those faculties. While I am on this subject, 
Cotta, I wish I had your eloquence: how would you illus- 
trate so fine a subject! You would show the great ex- 
tent of the understanding; how we collect our ideas, and 
join those which follow to those which precede; establish 
principles, draw consequences, define things separately, 
and comprehend them with accuracy; from whence you 
demonstrate how great is the power of intelligence and 
knowledge, which is such that even God himself has no 
qualities more admirable. How valuable (though you 
Academics despise and even deny that we have it) is our 


knowledge of exterior objects, from the perception of the 
senses joined to the application of the mind; by which 
we see in what relation one thing stands to another, and 
by the aid of which we have invented those arts which 
are necessary for the support and pleasure of life. How 
charming is eloquence! How divine that mistress of the 
universe, as you call it! It teaches us what we were ig- 
norant of, and makes us capable of teaching what we have 
learned. By this we exhort others; by this we persuade 
them; by this we comfort the afflicted; by this we de- 
liver the affrighted from their fear; by this we moderate 
excessive joy; by this we assuage the passions of lust and 
anger. This it is which bound men by the chains of 
right and law, formed the bonds of civil society, and made 
us quit a wild and savage life. 

And it will appear incredible, unless you carefully ob- 
serve the facts, how complete the work of nature is in 
giving us the use of speech; for, first of all, there is an 
artery from the lungs to the bottom of the mouth, through 
which the voice, having its original principle in the mind, 
is transmitted. Then the tongue is placed in the mouth, 
bounded by the teeth. It softens and modulates the voice, 
which would otherwise be confusedly uttered; and, by 
pushing it to the teeth and other parts of the mouth, 
makes the sound distinct and articulate. We Stoics, there- 
fore, compare the tongue to the bow of an instrument, the 
teeth to the strings, and the nostrils to the sounding-board. 

LX. But how commodious are the hands which nature 
has given to man, and how beautifully do they minister to 
many arts! For, such is the flexibility of the joints, that 
our fingers are closed and opened without any difficulty. 
With their help, the hand is formed for painting, carving, 
and engraving; for playing on stringed instruments, and 
on the pipe. These are matters of pleasure. There are 
also works of necessity, such as tilling the ground, build- 
ing houses, making cloth and habits, and working in brass 
and iron. It is the business of the mind to invent, the 
senses to perceive, and the hands to execute; so that if we 
have buildings, if we are clothed, if we live in safety, if 
we have cities, walls, habitations, and temples, it is to the 
hands we owe them. 


By our labor, that is, by our hands, variety and plenty 
of food are provided; for, without culture, many fruits, 
which serve either for present or future consumption, 
would not be produced; besides, we feed on flesh, fish, 
and fowl, catching some, and bringing up others. We 
subdue four-footed beasts for our. carriage, whose speed 
and strength supply our slowness and inability. On some 
we put burdens, on others yokes. We convert the sagac- 
ity of the elephant and the quick scent of the dog to our 
own advantage. Out of the caverns of the earth we dig 
iron, a thing entirely necessary for the cultivation of the 
ground. We discover the hidden veins of copper, silver, 
and gold, advantageous for our use and beautiful as orna- 
ments. We cut down trees, and use every kind of wild 
and cultivated timber, not only to make fire to warm us 
and dress our meat, but also for building, that we may 
have houses to defend us from the heat and cold. With 
timber likewise we build ships, which bring us from all 
parts every commodity of life. We are the only animals 
who, from our knowledge of navigation, can manage what 
nature has made the most violent—the sea and the winds. 
Thus we obtain from the ocean great numbers of prof- 
itable things. We are the absolute masters of what the 
earth produces. We enjoy the mountains and the plains. 
The rivers and the lakes are ours. We sow the seed, 
and plant the trees. We fertilize the earth by overflow- 
ing it. We stop, direct, and turn the rivers: in short, by 
our hands we endeavor, by our various operations in this 
world, to make, as it were, another nature. Cer 

LXI. But what shall I say of human reason? Has it 
not even entered the heavens? Man alone of all animals 
has observed the courses of the stars, their risings and 
settings. By man the day, the month, the year, is deter- 
mined. He foresees the eclipses of the sun and moon, and 
foretells them to futurity, marking their greatness, dura- 
tion, and precise time. From the contemplation of. these 
things the mind extracts the knowledge of the Gods—a 
knowledge which produces piety, with which is connected 
justice, and all the other virtues; from which arises a life 
of felicity, inferior to that of the Gods in no single partic- 
ular, except in immortality, which is not absolutely neces- 



sary to happy living. In explaining these things, I think 
that I have sufficiently demonstrated the superiority of 
man to other animated beings; from whence we should 
infer that neither the form and position of his limbs nor 
that strength of mind and understanding could possibly 
be the effect of chance. 

LXII. I .am now to prove, by way of conclusion, that 
‘aa thing in this world of use to us was made designed- 
ly for us. 

First of all, the universe was made for the Gods and 
men, and all things therein were prepared and provided 
for our service. For the world is the common habitation 
or city of the Geds and men; for they are the only rea- 
sonable beings: they alone live by justice and law. As, 
therefore, it must be presumed the cities of Athens and 
Lacedzemon were built for the Athenians and Lacedzemo- 
nians, and as everything there is said to belong to those 
people, so everything in the universe may with propriety 
be said to belong to the Gods and men, and to them alone. 

In the next place, though the revolutions of the sun, 
moon, and all the stars are necessary for the cohesion of 
the universe, yet may they be considered also as objects 
designed for the view and contemplation of man. There 
is no sight less apt to satiate the eye, none more beautiful, 
or more worthy to employ our reason and penetration. 
By measuring their courses we find the different seasons, 
their durations and vicissitudes, which, if they are known 
tei alone, we must believe were made only for their 

Does the earth bring forth fruit and grain in such 
excessive abundance and variety for men or for brutes ? 
The plentiful and exhilarating fruit of the vine and the 
olive-tree are entirely useless to beasts. They know not 
the time for sowing, tilling, or for reaping in season and 
gathering in the fruits of the earth, or for laying up and 
preserving their stores. Man alone has the care and ad- 
vantage of these things. 

LXIII. Thus, as the lute and the pipe were made for 
those, and those only, who are capable of playing on them, 
so it must be allowed that the produce of the earth was 
designed for those only who make use of them; and 

i a ele 



though some beasts may rob us of a small part, it does 
not follow that the earth produced it also for them. Men 
do not store up corn for mice and ants, but for their 
wives, their children, and their families. Beasts, there- 
fore, as I said before, possess it by stealth, but their mas- 
ters openly and freely. It is for us, therefore, that nature 
hath provided this abundance. Can there be any doubt 
that this plenty and variety of fruit, which delight not 
only the taste, but the smell and sight, was by nature in- 
tended for men only? Beasts are so far from being par- 
takers of this design, that we see that even they them- 
selves were made for man; for of what utility would 
sheep be, unless for their wool, which, when dressed and 
woven, serves us for clothing? For they are not capa- 
ble of anything, not even of procuring their own food, 
without the care and assistance of man. The fidelity of 
the dog, his affectionate fawning on his master, his aver- 
sion to strangers, his sagacity in finding game, and his 
vivacity in pursuit of it, what do these qualities denote 
but that he was created for our use?) Why need I men- 
tion oxen? We perceive that their backs were not form- 
ed for carrying burdens, but their necks were naturally 
made for the yoke, and their strong broad shoulders to 
draw the plough. In the Golden Age, which poets speak 
of, they were so greatly beneficial to the husbandman in 
tilling the fallow ground that no violence was ever offered 
them, and it was even thought a crime to eat them: 
The Iron Age began the fatal trade 
Of blood, and hammer’d the destructive blade ; 

Then men began to make the ox to bleed, 
And on the tamed and docile beast to feed.’ 

LXIV. It would take a long time to relate the advan- 
tages which we receive from mules and asses, which un- 
doubtedly were designed for our use. What is the swine 
good for but to eat? whose life, Chrysippus says, was 
given it but as salt? to keep it from putrefying; and as it 

1 The Latin version of Cicero is a translation from the Greek of 

? Chrysippus’s meaning is, that the swine is so inactive and slothful a 
beast that life seems to be of no use to it but to keep it from putrefac- 
tion, as salt keeps dead flesh. 


is proper food for man, nature hath made no animal more 
fruitful. What a multitude of birds and fishes are taken 
by the art and contrivance of man only, and which are so . 
delicious to our taste that one would be tempted some- 
times to believe that this Providence which watches over 
us was an Epicurean! Though we think there are some 
birds—the alites and oscines,’ as our augurs call them— 
which were made merely to foretell events. 

The large savage beasts we take by hunting, partly for 
food, partly to exercise ourselves in imitation of martial 
discipline, and to use those we can tame and instruct, as 
elephants, or to extract remedies for our diseases and 
wounds, as we do from certain roots and herbs, the virtues 
of which are known by long use and experience. Repre- 
sent to yourself the whole earth and seas as if before your 
eyes. You will see the vast and fertile plains, the thick, 
shady mountains, the immense pasturage for cattle, and 
ships sailing over the deep with incredible celerity ; nor 
are our discoveries only on the face of the earth, but in 
its secret recesses there are many useful things, which be- 
ing made for man, by man alone are discovered. 

LXY. Another, and in my opinion the strongest, proof 
that the providence of the Gods takes care of us is divina- 
tion, which both of you, perhaps, will attack; you, Cotta, 
because Carneades took pleasure in inveighing against the 
Stoics; and you, Velleius, because there is nothing Epi- 
curus ridicules so much as the prediction of events. Yet 
the truth of divination appears in many places, on many 
occasions, often in private, but particularly in public con- 
cerns. We receive many intimations from the foresight 
and presages of augurs and auspices; from oracles, proph- 
ecies, dreams, and prodigies; and it often happens that 
by these means events have proved happy to men, and 
imminent dangers have been avoided. This knowledge, 
therefore—call it either a kind of transport, or an art, or 
a natural faculty—is certainly found only in men, and is a 
gift from the immortal Gods. If these proofs, w hen taken 

1 Ales, in the general signification, is any large bird; and oscinis is 
any singing bird. But they here mean those birds which are used in 
augury: alites are the birds whose flight was observed by the augurs, 
and oscines the birds from whose voices they augured. . 

a a ll 

FI ee 


‘separately, should make no impression upon your mind, 

yet, when collected together, they must certainly affect 

: Besides, the Gods not only provide for mankind univer- 
sally, but for particular men. You may bring this univer- 
sality to gradually a smaller number, and again you may 
reduce that smaller number to individuals. 

LXVI. For if the reasons which I have given prove to 
all of us that the Gods take care of all men, in every coun- 
try, in every part of the world separate from our conti- 
nent, they take care of those who dwell on the same land 
with us, from east to west; and if they regard those who 
inhabit this kind of great island, which we call the globe 
of the earth, they have the like regard for those who pos- 
sess the parts of this island—Europe, Asia, and Africa; 
and therefore they favor the parts of these parts, as Rome, 
Athens, Sparta, and Rhodes; and particular men of these 
cities, separate from the whole; as Curius, Fabricius, Cor- 
uncanius, in the war with Pyrrhus; in the first Punic war, 
Calatinus, Duillius, Metellus, Lutatius; in the second, 
Maximus, Marcellus, Africanus; after these, Paullus, Grac- 
chus, Cato; and in our fathers’ times, Scipio, Leelius. 
Rome also and Greece have produced many illustrious 
men, who we cannot believe were so without the assistance 
of the Deity; which is the reason that the poets, Homer 
in particular, joined their chief heroes—Ulysses, Agamem- 
non, Diomedes, Achilles—to certain Deities, as companions 
in their adventures and dangers. Besides, the frequent 
appearances of the Gods, as I have before mentioned, de- 
moustrate their regard for cities and particular men. This 
is also apparent indeed from the foreknowledge of events, 
which we receive either sleeping or waking. We are like- 
wise forewarned of many things by the entrails of victims, 
by presages, and many other means, which have been long 
observed with such exactness as to produce an art of divi- 

There never, therefore, was a great man without divine 
inspiration. If a storm should damage the corn or vine- 
yard of a person, or any accident should deprive him of 
some conveniences of life, we should not judge from thence 
that the Deity hates or neglects him. The Gods take care 


of great things, and disregard the small. But to truly 
great men all things ever happen prosperously; as has 
been sufficiently asserted and proved by us Stoies, as well 
as by Socrates, the prince of philosophers, in his discourses 
on the infinite advantages arising from virtue. 

LXVII. This is almost the whole that hath occurred to 
my mind on the nature of the Gods, and what I thought 
proper to advance.- Do you, Cotta, if I may advise, defend 
the same cause. Remember that in Rome you keep the 
first rank; remember that you are Pontifex; and as your 
school is at liberty to argue on which side you please,’ do 
you rather take mine, and reason on it with that eloquence 
which you acquired by your rhetorical exercises, and which 
the Academy improved; for it is a pernicious and impi- 
ous custom to argue against the Gods, whether it be done 
seriously, or only in pretence and out of sport. 


I. Wuen Balbus had ended this discourse, then Cotta, 
with a smile, rejoined, You direct me too late which side 
to defend; for during the course of your argument I was 
revolving in my mind what objections to make to what 
you were saying, not so much for the sake of opposition, 
as of obliging you to explain what I did not perfectly com- 
prehend; and as every one may use his own judgment, it 
is scarcely possible for me to think in every instance ex- 
actly what you wish. 

You have no idea, O Cotta, said Velleius, how impatient 
I am to hear what you have to say. For since our friend 
Balbus was highly delighted with your discourse against 
Epicurus, I ought in my turn to be solicitous to hear what 
you can say against the Stoics; and I therefore will give 
you my best attention, for I believe you are, as usual, well 
prepared for the engagement. 

I wish, by Hercules! I were, replies Cotta; for it is more 
difficult to dispute with Lucilius than it was with you. 

? As the Academics doubted everything, it was indifferent to them 
which side of a question they took. 


i a ate ames 


Why so? says Velleius. Because, replies Cotta, your Ep- 
icurus, in my opinion, does not contend strongly for the 
Gods: he only, for the sake of avoiding any unpopularity 
or punishment, is afraid to deny their existence; for when 
he asserts that the Gods are wholly inactive and regard- 
less of everything, and that they have limbs like ours, but 
make no use of them, he seems to jest with us, and to 
think it sufficient if he allows that there are beings of any 
kind happy and eternal. But with regard to Balbus, I 
suppose you observed how many things were said by him, 
which; however false they may be, yet have a perfect co- 
herence and connection; therefore, my design, as I said, in 
opposing him, is not ‘so much to confute his principles as 
to induce him to explain what I do not clearly understand : 
for which reason, Balbus, I will give you the choice, either 
to answer me every particular as I go on, or permit me 
to proceed without interruption. If you want any expla- 
nation, replies Balbus, I would rather you would propose 
your doubts singly; but if your intention is rather to con- 
fute me than to seek instruction for yourself, it. shall be as 
you please; I will either answer. you immediately on every 
point, or stay till you have finished your discourse. 

II. Very well, says Cotta; then let us proceed as our 
conversation shall direct. But before I enter on the sub- 
ject, I have a word to say concerning myself; for I am 
greatly influenced by your authority, and your exhortation 
at the conclusion of your discourse, when you desired me 
to remember that I was Cotta and Pontifex; by which I 
presume you intimated that I should defend the sacred 
rites and religion and ceremonies which we received from 
our ancestors. Most undoubtedly I always have, and al- 
ways shall defend them, nor shall the arguments either of 
the learned or unlearned ever remove the opinions which | 
have imbibed from them concerning the worship of the im- 
mortal Gods. In matters of religion I submit to the rules 
of the high-priests, T. Coruncanius, P. Scipio, and P. Sce- 
vola; not to the sentiments of Zeno, Cleanthes, or Chrysip- 
pus; and I pay a greater regard to what C. Leelius, one of 
our augurs and wise men, has written concerning religion, 
in that noble oration of his, than to the most eminent of 
the Stoics: and as the whole religion of the Romans at 


first consisted in sacrifices and divination by birds, to 
‘which have since been added predictions, if the interpret- 
ers’ of the Sibylline oracle or the aruspices have foretold 
any event from portents and prodigies, I have ever thought 
that there was no point of all these holy things which de- 
served to be despised. I have been even persuaded that 
Romulus, by instituting divination, and Numa, by estab- 
lishing sacrifices, laid the foundation of Rome, which un- 
doubtedly would never have risen to such a height of 
grandeur if the Gods had not been made propitious by 
this worship. These, Balbus, are my sentiments both as 
a priest and as Cotta. But you must bring me to your 
opinion by the force of your reason: for I have a right to. 
demand from you, as a philosopher, a reason for the re- 
ligion which you would have me embrace. But I must 
believe the religion of our ancestors without any proof. 

III. What proof, says Balbus, do you require of me? 
You have proposed, says Cotta, four articles. First of all, 

-you undertook to prove that there “are Gods ;” secondly, 
“of what kind and character they are;” thirdly, that “ the 
universe is governed by them;” lastly, that “they provide 
for the welfare of mankind in particular.” Thus, if I re- 
member rightly, yah divided your discourse. Exactly so, 
replies Balbus; but let us see what you require. 

Let us examine, says Cotta, every proposition. The first 
one—that there are Gods—is never contested but by the 
most impious of men; nay, though it can never be rooted 
out of my mind, yet I believe it on the authority of our 
ancestors, and not on the proofs which you have brought. 
Why do you expect a proof from me, says Balbus, if you 
thoroughly believe it? Because, says Cotta, I come to this 
discussion as if I had never thought of the Gods, or heard 
anything concerning them. ‘Take me as a disciple wholly 
ignorant and unbiassed, and prove to me all the points 
which I ask. 

Begin, then, replies Balbus. I would first know, says 
Cotta, why you have been so long in proving the existence 
of the Gods, which you said was a point so very evident 
to all, that there was no need of any proof? In that, an- 

? The keepers and interpreters of the Sibylline oracles were the Quin- 


swers Balbus, I have followed your example, whom I have 
often observed, when pleading in the Forum, to load the 
judge with all the arguments which the nature of your 
cause would permit. This also is the practice of philoso- 
phers, and I have a right to follow it. Besides, you may 
as well ask me why I look upon you with-two eyes, since I 
can see you with one. 

IV. You shall judge, then, yourself, says Cotta, if this is 
a very just comparison; for, when I plead, I do not dwell 
upon any point agreed to be self-evident, because long rea- 
soning only serves to confound the clearest matters; be- 
sides, though I might take this method in pleading, yet I 
should not make use of it in such a discourse as this, which 
requires the nicest distinction. And with regard to your 
making use of one eye only when you look on me, there is 
no reason for it, since together they have the same view; 
and since nature, to which you attribute wisdom, has been 
pleased to give us two passages by which we receive light. 
But the truth is, that it was because you did not think 
that the existence of the Gods was so evident as you could 
wish that you therefore brought so many proofs. It was 
sufficient for me to believe it on the tradition of our an- 
cestors; and since you disregard authorities, and appeal 
to reason, permit my reason to defend them against yours. 
The proofs on which you found the existence of the Gods 
tend only to render a proposition doubtful that, in my 
opinion, is not so; I have not only retained in my memory 
the whole of these proofs, but even the order in which you 
proposed them. The first was, that when we lift up our 
eyes towards the heavens, we immediately conceive that 
there is some divinity that governs those celestial bodies ; 
on which you quoted this passage— 

Look up to the refulgent heaven above, 
Which all men call, unanimously, Jove; 

intimating that we should invoke that as Jupiter, rather 
than our Capitoline Jove,’ or that it is evident to the whole 
world that those bodies are Gods which Velleius and many 
others do not place even in the rank of animated beings. 

1 The popular name of Jupiter in Rome, being looked upon as defend- 

er of the Capitol (in which he was placed), and stayer of the State. 


Another strong proof, in your opinion, was that the 
belief of the existence of the Gods was universal, and 
that mankind was daily more and more convinced of it. 
What! should an affair of such importance be left to the 
decision of fools, who, by your sect especially, are called 
madmen ? 

V. But the Gods have appeared to us, as to Posthumius 
at the Lake Regillus, and to Vatienus in the Salarian Way: 
something you mentioned, too, I know not what, of a battle 
of the Locrians at Sagra. Do you believe that the Tyn- 
daridz, as you called them; that is, men sprung from men, 
and who were buried in Lacedzemon, as we learn from Ho- 
mer, who lived in the next age—do you believe, I say, that 
they appeared to Vatienus on the road mounted on white 
horses, without any servant to attend them, to tell the vic- 
tory of the Romans to a country fellow rather than to M. 
Cato, who was at that time the chief person of the senate? 
Do you take that print of a horse’s hoof which is now to 
be seen on a stone at Regillus to be made by Castor’s 
horse? Should you not believe, what is probable, that the 
souls of eminent men, such as the Tyndaride, are divine 
and immortal, rather than that those bodies which had 
been reduced to ashes should mount on horses, and fight 
in an army? If you say that was possible, you ought to 
show how it is so, and not amuse us with fabulous old 
women’s stories. 

Do you take these for fabulous stories? says Balbus. 
Is not the temple, built by Posthumius in honor of Castor 
and Pollux, to be seen in the Forum? Is not the decree 
of the senate concerning Vatienus still subsisting? As to 
the affair of Sagra, it is a common proverb among the 
Greeks; when they would affirm anything strongly, they 
say “It is as certain as what passed at Sagra.” Ought not 
such authorities to move you? You oppose me, replies 
Cotta, with stories, but I ask reasons of you.’ * 

VI. We are now to speak of predictions. No one can 
avoid what is to come, and, indeed, it is commonly useless 
to know it; for it is a miserable case to be afflicted to no 
purpose, and not to have even the last, the common com- 

1 Some passages of the original are here wanting. Cotta continues 
speaking against the doctrine of the Stoics. : 


fort, hope, which, according to your principles, none can 
have; for you say that fate governs all things, and call 
that fate which has been true from all eternity. What 
advantage, then, is the knowledge of futurity to us, or how 
does it assist us to guard against impending evils, since it 
will come inevitably ? 

But whence comes that divination? To whom is owing 
that knowledge from the entrails of beasts? Who first 
made observations from the voice of the crow? Who 
invented the Lots?’ Not that I give no credit to these 
things, or that I despise Attius Navius’s staff, which you 
mentioned; but I ought to be informed how these things 
are understood by philosophers, especially as the diviners 
are often wrong in their conjectures. But physicians, you 
say, are likewise often mistaken. What comparison can 
there be between divination, of the origin of which we are 
ignorant, and physic, which proceeds on principles intel- 
ligible to every one? You believe that the Decii,’ in de- 
voting themselves to death, appeased the Gods. How 
great, then, was the iniquity of the Gods that they could 
not be appeased but at the price of such noble blood! 
That was the stratagem of generals such as the Greeks 
call erparfynpa, and it was a stratagem worthy such illus- 
trious leaders, who consulted the public good even at the 
expense of their lives: they conceived rightly, what indeed 
happened, that if the general rode furiously upon the ene- 
my, the whole army would follow his example. As to the 
voice of the Fauns, I never heard it. If you assure me 
that you have, I shall believe you, though I really know . 
not what a Faun is. 

VII. I do not, then, O Balbus, from anything that you 
have said, perceive as yet that it is proved that there are 
Gods. I believe it, indeed, but not from any arguments of 
the Stoics. Cleanthes, you have said, attributes the idea 
that men have of the Gods to four causes. In the first 
place (as I have already sufficiently mentioned), to a fore- 

? The word sortes is often used for the answers of the oracles, or, 
rather, for the rolls in which the answers were written. 

? Three of this eminent family sacrificed themselves for their country ; 
the father in the Latin war, the son in the Tuscan war, and the grandson 
in the war with Pyrrhus, 


knowledge of future events; secondly, to tempests, and 
other shocks of nature; thirdly, to the utility and plenty 
of things we enjoy; fourthly, to the invariable order of the 
stars and the heavens. The arguments drawn from fore- 
knowledge I have already answered. With regard to tem- 
pests in the air, the sea, and the earth, I own that many 
people are affrighted by them, and imagine that the im- 
mortal Gods are the authors of them. 

But the question is, not whether there are people who 
believe that there are Gods, but whether there are Gods 
or not. As to the two other causes of Cleanthes, one of 
which is derived from the great abundance of desirable 
things which we enjoy, the other from the invariable or- 
der of the seasons and the heavens, I shall treat on them 
when I answer your discourse concerning the providence 
of the Gods—a point, Balbus, upon which you have spoken 
at great length. I shall likewise defer till then examining 
the argument which you attribute to Chrysippus, that “if 
there is in nature anything which surpasses the power of 
man to produce, there must consequently be some being 
better than man.” I shall also postpone, till we come to 
that part of my argument, your comparison of the world 
to a fine house, your observations on the proportion and 
harmony of the universe, and those smart, short reasons of 
Zeno which you quote; and I shall examine at the same 
time your reasons drawn from natural philosophy, con- 
cerning that fiery force and that vital heat which you re- 
gard as the principle of all things; and I will investigate, 
in its proper place, all that you advanced the other day 
on the existence of the Gods, and on the sense and under- 
standing which you attributed to the sun, the moon, and 
all the stars; and I shall ask you this question over and 
over again, By what proofs are you convinced yourself 
there are Gods? 

VIII. I thought, says Balbus, that I had brought ample 
proofs to establish this point. But such is your manner 
of opposing, that, when you seem on the point of interro- 
gating me, and when I am preparing to answer, you sud- 
denly divert the discourse, and give me no opportunity to 
reply to you; and thus those most important points con- 
cerning divination and fate are neglected which we Stoics 

Sn ae aie 


have thoroughly examined, but which your school has only 
slightly touched upon. But they are not thought essen- 
tial to the question in hand; therefore, if you think prop- 
er, do not confuse them together, that we in this discus- 
sion may come to a clear explanation of the subject of our 
present inquiry. 

Very well, says Cotta. Since, then, you have divided 
the whole question into four parts, and I have said all that 
I had to say on the first, I will take the second into consid- 
eration; in which, when you attempted to show what the 
character of the Gods was, you seemed to me rather to 
prove that there are none; for you said that it was the 
greatest difficulty to draw our minds from the preposses- 
sions of the eyes; but that as nothing is more excellent 
than the Deity, you did not doubt that the world was God, 
because there is nothing better in nature than the world, 
and so we may reasonably think it animated, or, rather, 
perceive it in our minds as clearly as if it were obvious to 
our eyes. 

Now, in what sense do you say there is nothing better 
than the world? If you mean that there is nothing more 
beautiful, I agree with you; that there is nothing more 
adapted to our wants, I likewise agree with you: but if 
you mean that nothing is wiser than the world, I am by 
no means of your opinion. Not that I find it difficult to 
conceive anything in my mind independent. of my eyes; 
on the contrary, the more I separate my mind from my 
eyes, the less I am able to comprehend your opinion. 

IX. Nothing is better than the world, you say. Nor 
is there, indeed, anything on earth better than the city of 
Rome; do you think, therefore, that our city has a mind; 
that it thinks and reasons; or that this most beautiful city, 
being void of sense, is not preferable to an ant, because an 
ant has sense, understanding, reason, and memory? You 
should consider, Balbus, what ought to be allowed you, and 
not advance things because they please you. 

For that old, concise, and, as it seemed to you, acute syl- 
logism of Zeno has been all which you have so much en- 
larged upon in handling this topic: “'That which reasons 
is superior to that which does not; nothing is superior to 
the world; therefore the world reasons.” If you would 


prove also that the world can very well read a book, fol- 
low the example of Zeno, and say, “ That which can read 
is better than that which cannot; nothing is better than 
the world; the world therefore can read.” After the same 
manner you may prove the world to be an orator, a mathe- 
matician, 2 musician—that it possesses all sciences, and, 
in short, is a philosopher. You have often said that God 
made all things, and that no cause can produce an effect 
unlike itself. From hence it will follow, not only that the 
world is animated, and is wise, but also plays upon the fid- 
dle and the flute, because it produces men who play on 
those instruments. Zeno, therefore, the chief of your sect, 
advances no argument sufficient to induce us to think that 
the world reasons, or, indeed, that it is animated at all, and 
consequently none to think it a Deity; though it may be 
said that there is nothing superior to it, as there is noth- 
ing more beautiful, nothing more useful to us, nothing 
more adorned, and nothing more regular in its motions. 
But if the world, considered as one great whole, is not God, 
you should not surely deify,as you have done, that infinite 
multitude of stars which only form a part of it, and which 
so delight you with the regularity of their eternal courses; 
not but that there is something truly wonderful and in- 
credible in their regularity; but this regularity of mo- 
tion, Balbus, may as well be ascribed to a natural as to a 
divine cause. 

X. What can be more regular than the flux and reflux 
of the Euripus at Chalcis, the Sicilian sea, and the violence 
of the ocean in those parts’ 

where the rapid tide 
Does Europe from the Libyan coast divide ? 
The same appears on the Spanish and British coasts. 
Must we conclude that some Deity appoints and directs 
these ebbings and flowings to certain fixed times? Con- 
sider, I pray, if everything which is regular in its motion 
is deemed divine, whether it will not follow that tertian 
and quartan agues must likewise be so, as their returns 
have the greatest regularity. These effects are to be ex- 
plained by reason; but, because you are unable to assign 
any, you have recourse to a Deity as your last refuge. 
* The Straits of Gibraltar. 


The arguménts of Chrysippus appeared to you of great 
weight; a man undoubtedly of great quickness and sub- 
tlety (I call those quick who have a sprightly turn of 
thought, and those subtle whose minds are seasoned by use 
as their hands are by labor): “If,” says he, “there is any- 
thing which is beyond the power of man to produce, the 
being who produces it is better than man. Man is unable 
to make what is in the world; the being, therefore, that 
could do it is superior to man. What being is there but 
a God superior to man? Therefore there is a God.” 

These arguments are founded on the same erroneous 
principles as Zeno’s, for he does not define what is meant 
by being better or more excellent, or distinguish between 
an intelligent cause and a natural cause. Chrysippus adds, 
“Tf there are no Gods, there is nothing better than man; 
but we cannot, without the highest arrogance, have this 
idea of ourselves.” Let us grant that it is arrogance in 
man to think himself better than the world; but to com- 
prehend that he has understanding and reason, and that in 
Orion and Canicula there is neither, is no arrogance, but 
an indication of good sense. “Since we suppose,” contin- 
ues he, “when we see a beautiful house, that it was built 
for the master, and not for mice, we should likewise judge 
that the world is the mansion of the Gods.” Yes, if I be- 
lieved that the Gods built the world; but not if, as I be- 
lieve, and intend to prove, it is the work of nature. 

XI. Socrates, in Xenophon, asks, “ Whence had man his 
understanding, if there was none in the world?” And I 
ask, Whence had we speech, harmony, singing; unless we 
think it is the sun conversing with the moon when she ap- 
proaches near it, or that the world forms an harmonious 
concert, as Pythagoras imagines? This, Balbus, is the ef- 
fect of nature; not of that nature which proceeds artifi- 
cially, as Zeno says, and the character of which I shall 
presently examine into, but a nature which, by its own 
proper motions and mutations, modifies everything. 

For I readily agree to what you said about the harmony 
and general agreement of nature, which you pronounced 
to be firmly bound and united together, as it were, by ties 
of blood; but I do not approve of what you added, that 
“it could not possibly be so, unless it were so united by 


one divine spirit.” On the contrary, the whole subsists 
by the power of nature, independently of the Gods, and 
there is a kind of sympathy (as the Greeks call it) which 
joins together all the parts of the universe; and the greater 
that is in its own power, the less is it necessary to have 
recourse to a divine intelligence. 

XII. But how will you get rid of the objections which 
Carneades made? “If,” says he, “ there is no body immor- 
tal, there is none eternal; but there is no body immortal, 
nor even indivisible, or that cannot be separated and dis- 
united ; and as every animal is in its nature passive, so there 
is not one which is not subject to the impressions of ex- 
‘traneous bodies; none, that is to say, which can avoid the 
necessity of enduring and suffering: and if every animal 
is mortal, there is none immortal; so, likewise, if every an- 
imal may be cut up and divided, there is none indivisible, 
none eternal, but all are liable to be affected by, and com- 
pelled to submit to, external power. Every,animal, there- 
fore, is necessarily mortal, dissoluble, and divisible.” 

For as there is no wax, no silver, no brass which cannot 
be converted into something else, whatever is composed 
of wax, or silver, or brass may cease to be what it is. By 
the same reason, if all the elements are mutable, every body 
is mutable. 

Now, according to your doctrine, all the elements are 
mutable; all bodies, therefore, are mutable. But if there 
were any body immortal, then all bodies would not be 
mutable. Every body, then, is mortal; for every body is 
either water, air, fire, or earth, or composed of the four 
elements together, or of some of them. Now, there is not 
one of all these elements that does not perish; for earthly 
bodies are fragile: water is so soft that the least shock 
will separate its parts, and fire and air yield to the least 
impulse, and are subject to dissolution; besides, any of 
these elements perish when converted into another nature, 
as when water is formed from earth, the air from water, 
and the sky from air, and when they change in the same 
manner back again. Therefore, if there is nothing but 
what is perishable in the composition of all animals, there 
is no animal eternal. 

XIII. But, not to insist on these arguments, there is no 


animal to be found that had not a beginning, and will not 
have an end; for every animal being sensitive, they are 
consequently all sensible of cold and heat, sweet and bit- 
ter; nor can they have pleasing sensations without being 
subject to the contrary. As, therefore, they receive pleas- 
ure, they likewise receive pain; and whatever being is 
subject to pain must necessarily be subject to death. It 
must be allowed, therefore, that every animal is mortal. 

Besides, a being that is not sensible of pleasure or pain 
cannot have the essence ofan animal; if, then, on the one 
hand, every animal must be sensible of pleasure and pain, 
and if, on the other, every being that has these sensations 
cannot be immortal, we may conclude that as there is no 
animal insensible, there is none immortal. Besides, there 
is no animal without inclination and aversion—an inclina- 
tion to that which is agreeable to nature, and an aversion 
to the contrary: there are in the case of every animal 
some things which they covet, and others they reject. 
What they reject are repugnant to their nature, and con- 
sequently would destroy them. Every animal, therefore, 
is inevitably subject to be destroyed. There are innu- 
merable arguments to prove that whatever is sensitive is 
perishable; for cold, heat, pleasure, pain, and all that af- 
fects the sense, when they become excessive, cause de- 
struction. Since, then, there is no animal that is not sen- 
sitive, there is none immortal. 

XIV. The substance of an animal is either simple or 
compound ; simple, if it is composed only of earth, of fire, 
of air, or of water (and of such a sort of being we ‘can 
_ form no idea); compound, if it is formed of different ele- 
ments, which have each their proper situation, and have a 
natural tendency to it—this element tending towards the 
highest parts, that towards the lowest, and another tow- 
ards the middle. This conjunction may for some time 
subsist, but not forever; for every element must return to 
its first situation. No animal, therefore, is eternal. 

But your school, Balbus, allows fire only to be the sole 
active principle; an opinion which I believe you derive 
from Heraclitus, whom some men understand in one sense, 
some in another: but since he seems unwilling to be un- 
derstood, we will pass him by. You Stoics, then, say that 


fire is the universal principle of all things; that all living 
bodies cease to live on the extinction of that heat ; and 
that throughout all nature whatever is sensible of that 
heat lives and flourishes. Now, I cannot conceive that 
bodies should perish for want of heat, rather than for 
want of moisture or air, especially as they even die 
through excess of heat; so that the life of animals does 
not depend more on fire than on the other elements. 

However, air and water have this quality in common 
with fire and heat. But let us see to what this tends. If 
I am not mistaken, you believe that in all nature there is 
nothing but fire, which is self-animated. Why fire rather 
than air, of which the life of animals consists, and which is 
called from thence anima,’ the soul? But how is it that 
you take it for granted that life is nothing but fire? It 
seems more probable that it is a compound of fire and 
air. But if fire is self-animated, unmixed with any other 
element, it must be sensitive, because it renders our bodies 
sensitive; and the same objection which I just now made 
will arise, that whatever is sensitive must necessarily be 
susceptible of pleasure and pain, and whatever is sensible 
of pain is likewise subject to the approach of death; 
therefore you cannot prove fire to be eternal. 

You Stoics hold that all fire has need of nourishment, 
without which it cannot possibly subsist; that the sun, 
moon, and all the stars are fed either with fresh or salt 
waters; and the reason that Cleanthes gives why the sun 
is retrograde, and does not go beyond the tropics in the 
summer or winter, is that he may not be too far from his 
sustenance. This I shall fully examine hereafter; but at 
present we may conclude that whatever may cease to be 
cannot of its own nature be eternal; that if fire wants sus- 
tenance, it will cease to be, and that, therefore, fire is not 
of its own nature eternal. 

XV. After all, what kind of a Deity must that be who 

* The common reading is, er quo anima dicitur ; but Dr. Davis and 
M. Bouhier prefer animal, though they keep anima in the text, be- 
cause our author says elsewhere, animum ex anima dictum, Tuse. at. 
Cicero is not here to be accused of contradictions, for we are to consider 
that he speaks in the characters of other persons; but there appears to 

be nothing in these two passages irreconcilable, and probably anima is 
the right word here. 


is not graced with one single virtue, if we should succeed 
in forming this idea of such a one? Must we not attrib- 
ute prudence to a Deity? a virtue which consists in the 
knowledge of things good, bad, and indifferent. Yet 
what need has a being for the discernment of good and 
ill who neither has nor can have any ill? Of what use is 
reason to him? of what use is understanding? We men, 
indeed, find them useful to aid us in finding out things. 
which are obscure by those which are clear to us; but 
nothing can be obscure to a Deity. As to justice, which 
gives to every one his own, it is not the concern of the 
Gods; since that virtue, according to your doctrine, re- 
ceived its birth from men and from civil society. Tem- 
perance consists in abstinence from corporeal pleasures, 
and if such abstinence hath a place in heaven, so also 
must the pleasures abstained from. Lastly, if fortitude is 
ascribed to the Deity, how does it appear? In afflictions, 
in labor, in danger? None of these things can affect a 
God. How, then, can we conceive this to be a Deity that 
makes no use of reason, and is not endowed with any virtue? 

However, when I consider what is advanced by the 
Stoics, my contempt for the ignorant multitude vanishes. 
For these are their divinities. The Syrians worshipped a 
fish. The Egyptians consecrated beasts of almost every 
kind. The Greeks deified many men; as Alabandus’ at 
Alabande, Tenes at Tenedos; and all Greece pay divine 
honors to Leucothea (who was before called Ino), to her 
son Palzmon, to Hercules, to Aisculapius, and to the Tyn- 
daride; our own people to Romulus, and to many oth- 
ers, who, as citizens newly admitted into the ancient body, 
they imagine have been received into heaven. 

These are the Gods of the illiterate. 

XVI. What are the notions of you philosophers? In 
what respect are they superior to these ideas? L shall 
pass them over; for they are certainly very admirable. 
Let the world, then, be a Deity, for that, I conceive, is 
what you mean by 

The refulgent heaven above, 
Which all men call, unanimously, Joye. 

! He is said to have led a colony from Greece into Caria, in Asia, and 
to have built a town, and called it after his own name, for which his 
countrymen paid him divine honors after his death. 


But why are we to add many more Gods? What a 
multitude of them there is! At least, it seems so to me; 
for every constellation, according to you, is a Deity: to 
some you give the name of beasts, as the goat, the scor- 
pion, the bull, the lion; to others the names of inanimate 
things, as the ship, the altar, the crown. 

But supposing these were to be allowed, how can the 
rest be granted, or even so much as understood? When 
we call corn Ceres, and wine Bacchus, we make use of the 
common manner of speaking; but do you think any one 
so mad as to believe that his food is a Deity? With re- 
gard to those who, you say, from having been men became 
Gods, I should be very willing to learn of you, either how 
it was possible formerly, or, if it had ever been, why is it 
not so now? I do not conceive, as things are at present, 
how Hercules, 

Burn’d with fiery torches on Mount C&ta, 

as Accius says, should rise, with the flames, 
To the eternal mansions of his father. 

Besides, Homer also says that Ulysses’ met him in the 
shades below, among the other dead. 

But yet I should be glad to know which Hercules we 
should chiefly worship; for they who have searched into 
those histories, which are but little known, tell us of sev- 
eral. The most ancient is he who fought with Apollo 
about the Tripos of Delphi, and is son of Jupiter and 
Lisyto; and of the most ancient Jupiters too, for we find 
many Jupiters also in the Grecian chronicles. The second 
is the Egyptian Hercules, and is believed to be the son of 
Nilus, and to be the author of the Phrygian characters. 
The third, to whom they offered sacrifices, is one of the 

? Our great author is under a mistake here. Homer does not say he 
met Hercules himself, but his EidwAov, his *‘ visionary likeness ;” and 
adds that he himself 
. pet &0avatoror Oeoice 
tépmeta év Oarins, kai €xec KaAALogupov "HBny, 
maida Ards jreyaAoro Kai “Hpns xpvcoredidov" 

which Pope translates— 

A shadowy form, for high in heaven’s abodes 
Himself resides, a God among the Gods; 
There, in the bright assemblies of the skies, 
He nectar quaffs, and Hebe crowns his joys. 


Idei Dactyli.. The fourth is the son of Jupiter and Aste- 
ria, the sister of Latona, chiefly honored by the Tyrians, 
who pretend that Carthago’ is his daughter. The fifth, 
called Belus, is worshipped in India. The sixth is the 
son of Alemena by Jupiter; but by the third Jupiter, for 
there are many Jupiters, as you shall soon see. 

XVII. Since this examination has led me so far, I will 
convince you that in matters’ of religion I have learned 
more from the pontifical rites, the customs of our ances- 
tors, and the vessels of Numa,* which Lelius mentions in 
his little Golden Oration, than from all the learning of the 
Stoics; for tell me, if I were a disciple of your school, 
- what answer could I make to these questions? If there 
are Gods, are nymphs also Goddesses? If they are God- 
desses, are Pans and Satyrs in the same rank? But they 
are not; consequently, nymphs are not Goddesses. Yet 
they have temples publicly dedicated to them. What do 
you conclude from thence? Others who have temples 
are not therefore Gods. But let us go on. You call 
Jupiter and Neptune Gods; their brother Pluto, then, is 
one; and if so, those rivers also are Deities which they 
say flow in the infernal regions—Acheron, Cocytus, Pyri- 
phlegethon; Charon also, and Cerberus, are Gods; but 
that cannot be allowed; nor can Pluto be placed among 
the Deities. What, then, will you say of his brothers? 

Thus reasons Carneades; not with any design to de- 
stroy the existence of the Gods (for what would less be- 
come a philosopher?), but to convince us that on. that 
matter the Stoics have said nothing plausible. If, then, 
Jupiter and Neptune are Gods, adds he, can that divinity 
be denied to their father Saturn, who is principally wor- 
shipped throughout the West? If Saturn is a God, then 
must his father, Ceelus, be one too, and so must the par- 
ents of Celus, which are the Sky and Day, as also their 
brothers and sisters, which by ancient genealogists are 

1 They are said to have been the first workers in iron. They were 
called Idzi, because they inhabited about.Mount Ida in Crete, and 
Dactyli, from daxrvAoz (the fingers), their number being five. 

? From whom, some say, the city of that name was called. 

® Capeduncule seem to have been bowls or cups, with handles on each 
side, set apart for the use of the altar.—Davis. 


thus named: Love, Deceit, Fear, Labor, Envy, Fate, Old 
Age, Death, Darkness, Misery, Lamentation, Favor, Fraud, 
Obstinacy, the Destinies, the Hesperides, and. Dreams; all 
which are the offspring of Erebus and Night. These 
monstrous Deities, therefore, must be received, or else 
those from whom they sprung must be disallowed. 

XVIII. If you say that Apollo, Vulean, Mercury, and 
the rest of that sort are Gods, can you doubt the divinity 
of Hercules and Adsculapius, Bacchus, Castor and Pollux ? 
These are worshipped as much as those, and even more 
in some places. Therefore they must be numbered among 
the Gods, though on the mother’s side they are only of 
mortal race. Aristeus, who is said to have been the son 
of Apollo, and to have found out the art of making oil 
from the olive; Theseus, the son of Neptune; and the 
rest whose fathers were Deities, shall they not be placed 
in the number of the Gods? But what think you of 
those whose mothers were Goddesses? They surely have 
a better title to divinity; for, in the civil law, as he is a 
freeman who is born of a freewoman, so, in the law of 
nature, he whose mother is a Goddess must be a God. 
The isle Astypalea religiously honor Achilles; and if he 
is a Deity, Orpheus and Rhesus are so, who were born of 
one of the Muses; unless, perhaps, there may be a privi- 
lege belonging to sea marriages which land marriages 
have not. Orpheus and Rhesus are nowhere worshipped ; 
and if they are therefore not Gods, because they are no- 
where worshipped as such, how can the others be Deities ? 
You, Balbus, seemed to agree with me that the honors 
which they received were not from their being regarded 
as immortals, but as men richly endued with virtue. 

But if you think Latona a Goddess, how can you avoid 
admitting Hecate to be one also, who was the daughter of 
Asteria, Latona’s sister? Certainly one, if we may 
judge by the altars erected to her in Greece. And if Hee- 
ate is a Goddess, how can you refuse that rank to the 
Eumenides? for they also have a temple at Athens, and, 
if I understand right, the Romans have consecrated 4 grove 
to them. The Furies, too, whom we look upon as the in- 
spectors into and scourges of impiety, I suppose, must have 
their divinity too. As you hold that there is some divinity 


presides over every human affair, there is one who presides 
over the travail of matrons, whose name, WVatio, is derived 
a nascentibus, from nativities, and to whom we used to 
sacrifice in our processions in the fields of Ardea; but if 
she is a Deity, we must likewise acknowledge all those you 
mentioned, Honor, Faith, Intellect, Concord; by the same 
rule also, Hope, Juno, Moneta,’ and every idle phantom, 
every child of our imagination, are Deities. But as this 
consequence is quite inadmissible, do not you either de- 
fend the cause from which it flows. 

XIX. What say you to this? If these are Deities, 
which we worship and regard as such, why are not Sera- 
pis and Isis’ placed in the same rank? And if they are 
admitted, what reason have we to reject the Gods of the 
barbarians? Thus we should deify oxen, horses, the ibis, 
hawks, asps, crocodiles, fishes, dogs, wolves, cats, and many 
other beasts. If we go back to the source of this super- 
stition, we must equally condemn all the Deities from 
which they proceed. Shall Ino, whom the Greeks call 
Leucothea, and we Matuta, be reputed a Goddess, because 
she was the daughter of Cadmus, and shall that title be re- 
fused to Circe and Pasiphae,* who had the sun for their fa- 
ther, and Perseis, daughter of the Ocean, for their mother? 
It is true, Circe has divine honors paid her by our colony 
of Circeum ; therefore you call her a Goddess; but what 
will you say of Medea, the granddaughter of the Sun and 
the Ocean, and daughter of AXetes and Idyia? What will 
you say of her brother Absyrtus, whom Pacuvius calls 
Aigialeus, though the other name is more frequent in the 
writings of the ancients? If you did not deify one as well 
as the other, what will become of Ino? for all these Deities 
have the same origin. 

Shall Amphiaraus and Tryphonius be called Gods? Our 
publicans, when some lands in Beotia were exempted from 
the tax, as belonging to the immortal Gods, denied that 

1 See Cicero de Divinatione, and Ovid. Fast. 

? In the consulship of Piso and Gabinius sacrifices to Serapis and Isis 
were prohibited in Rome; but the Roman people afterward placed them 
again in the number of their gods. See Tertullian’s Apol. and his first 
book Ad Nationes, and Arnobius, lib. 2.—Davis. 

* In some copies Circe, Pasiphae, and Ala are mentioned together ; 

ut Ada is rejected by the most judicious editors, ‘ 


any were immortal who had been men. But if you deify 
these, Erechtheus surely is a God, whose temple and priest 
we have seen at Athens. And can you, then, refuse to ac- 
knowledge also Codrus, and many others who shed their 
blood for the preservation of their country? And if it is 
not allowable to consider ail these men as Gods, then, cer- 
tainly, probabilities are not in favor of our acknowledg- 
ing the Divinity of those previously mentioned beings from 
whom these have proceeded. 

It is easy to observe, likewise, that if in many countries 
people have paid divine honors to the memory of those 
who have signalized their courage, it was done in order 
to animate others to practise virtue, and to expose them- 
selves the more willingly to dangers in their country’s 
cause. From this motive the Athenians have deified Erech- 
theus and his daughters, and have erected also a temple, 
called Leocorion, to the daughters of Leus.’. Alabandus 
is more honored in the city which he founded than any of 
the more illustrious Deities; from thence Stratonicus had 
a pleasant turn—as he had many—when he was troubled 
with an impertinent fellow who insisted that Alabandus 
was a God, but that Hercules was not; “ Very well,” says 
he, “then let the anger of Alabandus fall upon me, and 
that of Hercules upon you.” 

XX. Do you not consider, Balbus, to what lengths your 
arguments for the divinity of the heaven and the stars 
will carry you? You deify the sun and the moon, which 
the Greeks take to be Apollo and Diana. If the moon is 
a Deity, the morning-star, the other planets, and all the 
fixed stars are also Deities; and why shall not the rain- 
bow be placed in that number? for it is so wonderfully 
beautiful that it is justly said to be the daughter of Thau- 
mas.” But if you deify the rainbow, what regard will you 
pay to the clouds? for the colors which appear in the bow 
are only formed of the clouds, one of which is said to have 
brought forth the Centaurs; and if you deify the clouds, 
you cannot pay less regard to the seasons, which the Ro- 
man people have really consecrated. Tempests, showers, 

1 They were three, and are said to have averted a plague by offering 
themselves a sacrifice. 
* So called from the Greek word 0avudfo, to wonder. 


storms, and whirlwinds must then be Deities. It is cer- 
tain, at least, that our captains used to sacrifice a victim 
to the waves before they embarked on any voyage. 

As you deify the earth under the name of Ceres,’ be- 
cause, as you said, she bears fruits (@ gerendo), and the 
ocean under that of Neptune, rivers and fountains have 
the same right. Thus we see that Maso, the conqueror of 
Corsica, dedicated a temple to a fountain, and the names 
of the Tiber, Spino, Almo, Nodinus, and other neighbor- 
ing rivers are in the prayers’ of the augurs. Therefore, 
either the number of such Deities will be infinite, or we 
must admit none of them, and wholly disapprove of such 
an endless series of superstition. 

XXI. None of all these assertions, then, are to be ad- 
mitted. I must proceed now, Balbus, to answer those who 
say that, with regard to those deified mortals, so religious- 
ly and devoutly reverenced, the public opinion should have 
the force of reality. To begin, then: they who are called 
theologists say that there are three Jupiters; the first and 
second of whom were born in Arcadia; one of whom was 
the son of Aither, and father of Proserpine and Bacchus; 
the other the son of Celus, and father of Minerva, who is 
called the Goddess and inventress of war; the third one 
born of Saturn in the isle of Crete,’ where his sepulchre 
is shown. The sons of Jupiter (Atécxovpo) also, among 
the Greeks, have many names; first, the three who at 
Athens have the title of Anactes,* Tritopatreus, Eubuleus, 
and Dionysus, sons of the most ancient king Jupiter and 
Proserpine; the next are Castor and Pollux, sons of the 
third Jupiter and Leda; and, lastly, three others, by some 
called Alco,’ Melampus, and Tmolus, sons of Atreus, the 
son of Pelops. 

1 She was first called Geres, from gero, to bear. ; 

* The word is precatione, which means the books or forms of prayers 
used by the augurs. 

* Cotta’s intent here, as well as in other places, is to show how un- 
philosophical their civil theology was, and with what confusions it was 
embarrassed ; which design of the Academic the reader should carefully 
keep in view, or he will lose the chain of argument. 

* Anactes, “Avaxtec, was a general name for all kings, as we find in 
the oldest Greek writers, and particularly in Homer. 

® The common reading is Aleo; but we follow Lambinus and Davis, 
who had the authority of the best manuscript copies. 


As to the Muses, there were at first four—Thelxiope, 
Acede, Arche, and Melete—daughters of the second Jupi- 
ter; afterward there were nine, daughters of the third Ju- 
piter and Mnemosyne; there were also nine others, having 
the same appellations, born of Pierus aud Antiopa, by the 
poets usually called Pierides and Pieriz. Though Sol 
(the sun) is so called, you say, because he is solus (single) ; 
yet how many suns do theologists mention? There is 
one, the son of Jupiter and grandson of Aither; another, 
the son of Hyperion; a third, who, the Egyptians say, was 
_of the city Heliopolis, sprung from Vulcan, the son of 
Nilus; a fourth is said to have been born at Rhodes of 
Acantho, in the times of the heroes, and was the grandfa- 
ther of Jalysus, Camirus, and Lindus; a fifth, of whom, it 
is pretended, Aretes and Circe were born at Colchis. 

XXII. There are likewise several Vulcans. The first 
(who had of Minerva that Apollo whom the ancient his- 
torians call the tutelary God of Athens) was the son of 
Ceelus; the second, whom the Egyptians call Opas,’ and 
whom they looked upon as the protector of Egypt, is the 
son of Nilus; the third, who is said to have been the mas- 
ter of the forges at Lemnos, was the son of the third Ju- 
piter and of Juno; the fourth, who possessed the islands 
near Sicily called Vulcaniz,? was the son of Menalius. 
One Mercury had Ccelus for his father and Dies for his 
mother; another, who is said to dwell in a cavern, and is 
the same as Trophonius, is the son of Valens and Phoronis. 
A third, of whom, and of Penelope, Pan was the offspring, 
is the son of the third Jupiter and Maia. A fourth, whom 
the Egyptians think it a crime to name, is the son of Nilus. 
A fifth, whom we call, in their language, Thoth, as with 
them the first month of the year is called, is he whom the 
people of Pheneum* worship, and who is said to have kill- 
ed Argus, to have fled for it into Egypt, and to have given 
laws and learning to the Egyptians. The first of the 
AXsculapii, the God of Arcadia, who is said to have in- 
vented the probe and to have been the first person who 
taught men to use bandages for wounds, is the son of 

? Some prefer Phthas to Opas (see Dr. Davis’s edition); but Opas is 

the generally received reading. 
2 The Lipari Isles, * A town in Arcadia. 


Apollo. The second, who was killed with thunder, and is 
said to be buried in Cynosura,'is the brother of the sec- 
ond Mercury. The third, who is said to have found out 
the art of purging the stomach, and of drawing teeth, is 
the son of Arsippus and Arsinoe; and in Arcadia there is 
shown his tomb, and the wood which is consecrated to 
him, near the river Lusinm. 

XXII. [have already spoken of the most ancient of the 
Apollos, who is the son of Vulcan, and tutelar God of Ath- 
ens. There is another, son of Corybas, and native of Crete, 
for which island he is said to have contended with Jupiter 
himself. A third, who came from the regions of the Hy- 
perborei’ to Delphi, is the son of the third Jupiter and of 
Latona. <A fourth was of Arcadia, whom the Arcadians 
called Nomio,’ because they regarded him as their legis- 
lator. There are likewise many Dianas. The first, who 
is thought to be the mother of the winged Cupid, is the 
daughter of Jupiter and Proserpine. The second, who is 
more known, is daughter of the third Jupiter and of La- 
tona. The third, whom the Greeks often call by her fa- 
ther’s name, is the daughter of Upis‘ and Glauce. There 
are many also of the Dionysi. The first was the son of 
Jupiter and Proserpine. The second, who is said to have 
killed Nysa, was the son of Nilus. The third, who reign- 
ed in Asia, and for whom the Sabazia® were instituted, was 
the son of Caprius. The fourth, for whom they celebrate 
the Orphic festivals, sprung from Jupiter and Luna. The 
fifth, who is supposed to have instituted the Trieterides, 
was the son of Nysus and Thyone. 

The first Venus, who has a temple at Elis, was the daugh- 
ter of Ceelus and Dies. The second arose out of the froth 
of the sea, and became, by Mercury, the mother of the sec- - 
ond Cupid. The third, the daughter of Jupiter and Di- 
ana, was married to Vulcan, but is said to have had An- 
teros by Mars.. The fourth was a Syrian, born of Tyro, 
who is called Astarte, and is said to have been married to 

2 In Arcadia. ? A northern people. 

3 So called from the Greek word véyoc, lex, a law. 

* He is called 'Qri¢ in some old Greek fragments, and Oi by Cal- 
limachus in his hymn on Diana. 

® YaBalioc, Sabazius, is one of the names used for Bacchus. 


Adonis. I have already mentioned one Minerva, mother 
of Apollo. Another, who is worshipped at Sais, a city in 
Egypt, sprung from Nilus. The third, whom I have also 
mentioned, was daughter of Jupiter. The fourth, sprung 
from Jupiter and Coryphe, the daughter of the Ocean ; 
the Arcadians call her Coria, and make her the inventress 
of chariots. A fifth, whom they paint with wings at her 
heels, was daughter of Pallas, and is said to have killed her 
father for endeavoring to violate her chastity. The first 
Cupid is said to be the son of Mercury and the first Diana; 
the second, of Mercury and the second Venus; the third, 
who is the same as Anteros, of Mars and the third Venus. 

All these opinions arise from old stories that were 
spread in Greece; the belief in which, Balbus, you well 
know, ought to be stopped, lest religion should suffer. 
But you Stoics, so far from refuting them, even give them 
authority by the mysterious sense which you pretend to 
find in them. Can you, then, think, after this plain refuta- 
tion, that there is need to employ more subtle reasonings ? 
But to return from this digression. 

XXIV. We see that the mind, faith, hope, virtue, honor, 
victory, health, concord, and things of such kind, are purely 
natural, and have nothing of divinity in them; for either 
they are inherent in us, as the mind, faith, hope, virtue, 
and concord are; or else they are to be desired, as honor, 
health, and victory. I know indeed that they are useful 
to us, and see that statues have been religiously erected 
for them; but as to their divinity, I shall begin to believe 
it when you have proved it for certain. Of this kind I 
may particularly mention Fortune, which is allowed to be 

ever inseparable from inconstancy and temerity, which are 
certainly qualities unworthy of a divine being. 

But what delight do you take in the explication of fa- 
bles, and in the etymology of names ?—that Celus was 
castrated by his son, and that Saturn was bound in chains 
by his:son! By your defence of these and such like fic- 
tions you would make the authors of them appear not only 
not to be madmen, but to have been even very wise. But 
the pains which you take with your etymologies deserve 
our pity. That Saturn is so called because se saturat an- 
nis, he is full of years; Mavors, Mars, because magna 


wortit, he brings about mighty changes; Minerva, because 
minuit, she diminishes, or because minatur, she threatens ; 
Venus, because venit ad omnia, she comes to all; Ceres, 
a gerendo, from bearing. How dangerous is this method ! 
for there are many names would puzzle you. From what 
would you derive Vejupiter and Vulcan? Though, in- 
deed, if you can derive Neptune a nando, from swimming, 
in which you seem to me to flounder about yourself more 
. than Neptune, you may easily find the origin of all names, 
since it is founded only upon the conformity of some one 
letter. Zeno first, and after him Cleanthes and Chrysip- 
pus, are put to the unnecessary trouble of explaining mere 
fables, and giving reasons for the several appellations of 
every Deity; which is really owning that those whom we 
call Gods are not the representations of deities, but natu- 
ral things, and that to judge otherwise is an error. 

XXY. Yet this error has so much prevailed that even 
pernicious things have not only the title of divinity ascribed 
to them, but have also sacrifices offered to them; for Fe- 
ver has a temple on the Palatine hill, and Orbona anoth- 
er near that of the Lares, and we see on the Esquiline hill 
an altar consecrated to Ill-fortune. Let all such errors be 
banished from philosophy, if we would advance, in our dis- 
pute concerning the immortal Gods, nothing unworthy of 
immortal beings. I know myself what I ought to believe; 
which is far different from what you have said. You take 
Neptune for an intelligence pervading the sea. You have 
the same opinion of Ceres with regard to the earth. I 
cannot, I own, find out, or in the least conjecture, what that 
intelligence of the sea or the earth is. To learn, therefore, 
the existence of the Gods, and of what description and char- 
acter they are, 1 must apply elsewhere, not to the Stoics. 

Let us proceed to the two other parts of our dispute: 
first, “ whether there is a divine providence which governs 
the world ;” and lastly, “ whether that providence particu- 
larly regards mankind ;” for these are the remaining prop- 
ositions of your discourse; and I think that, if you approve 
of it, we should examine these more accurately. With all 
my heart, says Velleius, for I readily agree to what you 
have hitherto said, and expect still greater things from you. 

Tam unwilling to interrupt you, says Balbus to Cotta, 


but we shall take another _Oppertaniny; and I shall effectu- 
ally convince you. But' * 

“XXVI. Shall I adore, and bend the suppliant knee, 
Who scorn their power and doubt their deity ? 

Does not Niobe here seem to reason, and by that rea- 
soning to bring all her misfortunes upon herself? But 
what a subtle expression is the following! 

On strength of will alone depends success ; 

a maxim capable of leading us into all that is bad. 

Though I’m confined, his malice yet is vain, 
His tortured heart shall answer pain for pain; 
His ruin soothe my soul with soft content, 
Lighten my chains, and welcome banishment! 

This, now, is reason; that reason which you say the di- 
vine goodness has denied to the brute creation, kindly to 
bestow it on men alone... How great, how immense the 
favor! Observe the same Medea flying from her father 
and her country: 

The guilty wretch from her pursuer flies. 

By her own hands the young Absyrtus slain, 
His mangled limbs she scatters o’er the plain, 
That the fond sire might sink beneath his woe, 
And she to parricide her safety owe. 

Reflection, as well as wickedness, must have been neces- 
sary to the preparation of such a fact; and did he too, who 
prepared that fatal repast for his brother, do it without 
reflection ? 

Revenge as great as Atreus’ injury 
Shall sink his soul and crown his misery. 

XXVII. Did not Thyestes himself, not content with hav- 
ing defiled his brother’s bed (of which Atreus with great 
justice thus complains, 

When faithless comforts, in the lewd embrace, 

With vile adultery stain a royal race, 

The blood thus mix’d in fouler currents flows, 
Taints the rich soil, and breeds unnumber’d woes)— 

? Here is a wide chasm in the original. What is lost probably may 
have contained great part of Cotta’s arguments against the providence 
of the Stoics. 


did he not, I say, by that adultery, aim at the possession 
of the crown? Atreus thus continues: 

A lamb, fair gift of heaven, with golden fleece, 

Promised in vain to fix my crown in peace; 

But base Thyestes, eager for the prey, 

Crept to my bed, and stole the gem away. 

Do you not perceive that Thyestes must have had a 
share of reason proportionable to the greatness of his 
crimes—such crimes as are not only represented to us on 
the stage, but such as we see committed, nay, often exceed- 
ed, in the common course of life? The private houses of 
individual citizens, the public courts, the senate, the camp, 
our allies, our provinces, all agree that reason is the author 
of all the ill, as well as of all the good, which is done; that 
it makes few act well, and that but seldom, but many act 
ill, and that frequently; and that, in short, the Gods would - 
have shown greater benevolence in denying us any reason 
at all than in sending us that which is accompanied with 
so much mischief; for as wine is seldom wholesome, but 
often hurtful in diseases, we think it more prudent to deny 
it to the patient than to run the risk of so uncertain a 
remedy; so I do not know whether it would not be better 
for mankind to be deprived of wit, thought, and penetra- 
tion, or what we call reason, since it is a thing pernicious 
to many and very useful to few, than to have it bestowed 
upon them with so much liberality and in such abundance. 
But if the divine will has really.consulted the good of man 
in this gift of reason, the good of those men only was con- 
sulted on whom a well-regulated one is bestowed: how 
few those are, if any, is very apparent. We cannot admit, 
therefore, that the Gods consulted the good of a few only ; 
the conclusion must be that they consulted the good of 

XXVIII. You answer that the ill use which a great 
part of mankind make of reason no more takes away the 
goodness of the Gods, who bestow it as a present of the 
greatest benefit to them, than the ill use which children 
make of their patrimony diminishes the obligation which 
they have to their parents for it. We grant you this; 
but where is the similitude? It was far from Deianira’s 
design to injure Hercules when she made him a present 


of the shirt dipped in the blood of the Centaurs. Nor 
was it a regard to the welfare of Jason of Pherse that in- 
fluenced the man who with his sword opened his impost- 
hume, which the physicians had in vain attempted to 
cure. For it has often happened that people have served 
a man whom they intended to injure, and have injured 
one whom they designed to serve; so that the effect of 
the gift is by no means always a proof of the intention of 
the giver; neither does the benefit which may accrue from 
it prove that it came from the hands of a benefactor. 
For, in short, what debauchery, what avarice, what crime 
among men is there which does not owe its birth to 
thought and reflection, that is, to reason? For all opinion 
is reason: right reason, if men’s thoughts are conforma- 
ble to truth; wrong reason, if they are not. The Gods 
only give us the mere faculty of reason, if we have any; 
the use or abuse of it depends entirely upon ourselves; so 
that the comparison is not just between the present of 
reason given us by the Gods, and a patrimony left to a son 
by his father; for, after all,if the injury of mankind had 
been the end proposed by the Gods, what could they have 
given them more pernicious than reason? for what seed 
could there be of injustice, intemperance, and cowardice, if 
reason were not laid as the foundation of these vices ? 
XXIX. I mentioned just now Medea and Atreus, per- 
sons celebrated in heroic poems, who had used this rea- 
son only for the contrivance and practice of the most fla- 
gitious crimes; but even the trifling characters which ap- 
pear in comedies supply us with the like instances of this 
reasoning faculty ; for example, does not he, in the Eu- 
nuch, reason with some subtlety ?— 

What, then, must I resolve upon ? 
She turn’d me out-of-doors ; she sends for me back again ; 
Shall I go? no, not if she were to beg it of me. 

Another, in the Twins, making no scruple of opposing a 
received maxim, after the manner of the Academics, as- 
serts that when a man is in love and in want, it is pleas- 

To have a father covetous, crabbed, and passionate, 
Who has no love or affection for his children. 


This unaccountable opinion he strengthens thus: 

You may defraud him of his profits, or forge letters in his name, 
Or fright him by your servant into compliance ; 

And what you take from such an old hunks, 

How much more pleasantly do you spend it! 

On the contrary, he says that an easy, generous father 
is an inconvenience to a son in love; for, says he, 

I can’t tell how to abuse so good, so prudent a parent, 

Who always foreruns my desires, and meets me purse in hand, 

To support me in my pleasures: this easy goodness and generosity 
Quite defeat all my frauds, tricks, and stratagems.’ 

What are these frauds, tricks, and stratagems but the 
effects of reason? O excellent gift of the Gods! With- 
out this Phormio could not have said, 

Find me out the old man: Ihave something hatching for him in my 

XXX. But let us pass from the stage to the bar. The 
preetor’ takes his seat.. To judge whom? 'The man who 
set fire to our archives. How secretly was that. villany 
conducted! Q. Sosius, an illustrious Roman knight, of 
the Picene field,* confessed the fact. Who else is to be 
tried? He who forged the public registers—Alenus, an 
artful fellow, who counterfeited the handwriting of the 
six officers.* Let us call to mind other trials: that on 
the subject of the gold of Tolosa, or the conspiracy of Ju- 
gurtha. Let us trace back the informations laid against 
Tubulus for bribery in his judicial office; and, since that, 
the proceedings of the tribune Peduceus concerning the 

? Here is one expression in the quotation from Cecilius that is not 
commonly met with, which is prestigias prestrinzit ; Lambinus gives 
prestinzit, for the sake, I suppose, of playing on words, because it might 
then be translated, ‘‘ He has deluded my delusions, or stratagems ;” but 
prestrinzit is certainly the right reading. 

? The ancient Romans had a judicial as well as a military pretor; 
and he sat, with inferior judges attending him, like one of our chief- 
justices. Sessumit preetor, which I doubt not is the right reading, Lam- 
binus restored from an old copy. The common reading was sessum ite 

% Picenum was a region of Italy. 

4 The sex primi were general receivers of all taxes and tributes; and 
they were obliged to make good, out of their own fortunes, whatever 
deficiencies were in the public treasury. 




incest of the vestals. Let us reflect upon the trials which 
daily happen for assassinations, poisonings, embezzlement 
of public money, frauds in wills, against which we have 
a new law; then that action against the advisers or as- 
sisters of any theft; the many laws concerning frauds in 
guardianship, breaches of trust in partnerships and com- 
missions in trade,and other violations of faith in buy- 
ing, selling, borrowing, or lending; the public decree on 
a private affair-by the Letorian Law;' and, lastly, that 
scourge of all dishonesty, the law against fraud, proposed 
by our friend Aquillius; that sort of fraud, he says, by 
which one thing is pretended and another done. Can we, 
then, think that this plentiful fountain of evil sprung from 
the immortal Gods? If they have given reason to man, 
they have likewise given him subtlety, for subtlety is only 
a deccitful manner of applying reason to do mischief. To 
them likewise we must owe deceit, and every other crime, 
which, without the help of reason, would neither have 
been thought of nor committed. As the old woman 

- - wished 

That to the fir which on Mount Pelion grew 

The axe had ne’er been laid,? 
so we should wish that the Gods had never bestowed this 
ability on man, the abuse of which is so general that the 
small number of those who make a good use of it are 
often oppressed by those who make a bad use of it; so 
that it seems to be given rather to help vice than to pro- 
mote virtue among us. 

XXXI. This, you insist on it, is the fault of man, and 
not of the Gods. But should we not laugh at a physician 
or pilot, though they are weak mortals, if they were to lay 
the blame of their ill success on the violence of the disease 
or the fury of the tempest? Had there not been danger, 

? The Letorian Law was a security for those under age against ex- 
tortioners, etc. By this law all debts contracted under twenty-five years 
of age were void. 

? This is from Ennius— 

Utinam ne in nemore Pelio securibus 
Cesa cecidisset abiegna ad terram trabes, 
Translated from the beginning of the Medea of Euripides— 

Md’ év varaot InXiov meceww morte 
tunbeioa meiKn. 


we should say, who would have applied to you? This 
reasoning has still greater force against the Deity. The 
fault, you say, is in man, if he commits crimes. But why 
was not man endued with a reason incapable of producing 
any crimes? How could the Gods err? When we leave 
our effects to our children, it is in hopes that they may 
be well bestowed; in which we may be deceived, but how 
can the Deity be deceived? As Phebus when he trusted 
his chariot to his son Phaéthon, or as Neptune when he in- 
dulged his son Theseus in granting him three wishes, the 
consequence of which was the destruction of Hippolitus ? 
These are poetical fictions; but. truth, and not fables, 
ought to proceed from philosophers. Yet if those poet- 
ical Deities had foreseen that their indulgence would have 
proved fatal to their sons, they must have been thought 
blamable for it. 

Aristo of Chios used often to say that the philosophers 
do hurt to such of their disciples as take their good doc- 
trine in a wrong sense; thus the lectures of Aristippus 
might produce debauchees, and those of Zeno pedants. 
If this be true, it were better that philosophers should be 
silent than that their disciples should be corrupted by a 
misapprehension of their master’s meaning; so if reason, 
which was bestowed on mankind by the Gods with a good 
design, tends only to make men more subtle and fraudu- 
lent, it had been better for them never to have received it. 
There could be no excuse for a physician who prescribes 
wine to a patient, knowing that he will drink it and im- 
mediately expire. Your Providence is no less blamable in 
giving reason to man, who, it foresaw, would make a bad 
use of it. Will you say that it did not foresee it? Noth- 
ing could please me more than such an acknowledgment. 
But you dare not. I know what a sublime idea you enter- 
tain of her. 

XXXII. But to conclude. If folly, by the unanimous 
consent of philosophers, is allowed to be the greatest of all 
evils, and if no one ever attained to true wisdom, we, whom 
they say the immortal Gods take care of, are consequently 
in a state of the utmost misery. For that nobody is well, 
or that nobody can be well, is in effect the same thing; 
and, in my opinion, that no man is truly wise, or that no 


man can be truly wise, is likewise the same thing. But I 
will insist no further on so self-evident a point. “Telamon 
in one verse decides the question. If, says he, there is a 
Divine Providence, 

Good men would be happy, bad men miserable. 

But it is not so. If the Gods had regarded mankind, they 
should have made them all virtuous; but if they did not 
regard the welfare of all mankind, at least they ought to 
have provided for the happiness of the virtuous. Why, 
therefore, was the Carthaginian in Spain suffered to de- 
stroy those best and bravest men, the two Scipios? Why 
did Maximus’ lose his son, the consul? Why did Hanni- 
bal kill Marcellus? Why did Cannez deprive us of Pau- 
lus? Why was the a of Regulus delivered up to the 
cruelty of the Carthaginians? Why was not Africanus 
protected from violence in his own house? To these, and 
many more ancient instances, let us add some of later date. 
Why is Rutilius, my uncle,a man of the greatest virtue 
and learning, now in banishment? Why was my own 
friend and companion Drusus assassinated in his own 
house? Why was Scevola, the high-priest, that pattern 
of moderation and prudence, massacred before the statue 
of Vesta? Why, before that, were so many illustrious cit- 
izens put to death by Cinna? Why had Marius, the most 
perfidious of men, the power to cause the death of Catulus, 
a man of the greatest dignity ? But there would be no end 
of enumerating examples of good men made miserable and 
wicked men prosperous. Why did that Marius live to an 
old age, and die so happily at his own house in his seventh 
consulship? Why was that inhuman wretch Cinna per- 
mitted to enjoy so long a reign ? 

XXXII. He, indeed, met with deserved punishment at 
last. But would it not have been better that these inhu- 
manities had been prevented than that the author of them 
should be punished afterward? Varius, a most impious 
wretch, was tortured and put to death. If this was his 
punishment for the murdering Drusus by the sword, and 
Metellus by poison, would it not have been better to have 
preserved their lives than to have their deaths avenged on 

+ Q. Fabius Maximus, surnamed Cunctator. 


Varius? Dionysius was thirty-eight years a tyrant over 
the most opulent and flourishing city; and, before him, 
how many years did Pisistratus tyrannize in the very flow- 
er of Greece! Phalaris and Apollodorus met with the 
fate they deserved, but not till after they had tortured and 
put to death multitudes. Many robbers have been exe- 
cuted; but the number of those who have suffered for 
their crimes is short of those whom they have robbed and 
murdered. Anaxarchus,’a scholar of Democritus, was cut 
to pieces by command of the tyrant of Cyprus; and Zeno 
of Elea* ended his life in tortures. What shall I say of 
Socrates,® whose death, as often as I read of it in Plato, 
draws fresh tears from my eyes? If, therefore, the Gods 
really see everything that happens to men, you must ac- 
knowledge they make no distinction between the good and. 
the bad. 

XXXIV. Diogenes the Cynic used to say of Harpalus, 
one of the most fortunate villains of his time, that the 
constant prosperity of such a man was a kind of witness 
against the Gods. Dionysius, of whom we have before 
spoken, after he had pillaged the temple of Proserpine at 
Locris, set sail for Syracuse, and, having a fair wind: dur- 
ing his voyage, said, with a smile, “See, my friends, what 
favorable winds the immortal Gods bestow upon church- 
robbers.” Encouraged by this prosperous event, he pro- 
ceeded in his impiety. When he landed at Peloponnesus, 
he went into the temple of Jupiter Olympius, and disrobed 
his statue of a golden mantle of great weight, an ornament 
which the tyrant Gelo* had given out of the spoils of the 
Carthaginians, and at the same time, in a jesting manner, 
he said “that a golden mantle was too heavy in summer 
and too cold in winter;” and then, throwing a woollen 
cloak over the statue, added, “ This will serve for all sea- 
sons.” At another time, he ordered the golden beard of 
AXsculapius of Epidaurus to be taken away, saying that “ it 

1 Diogenes Laertius says he was pounded to death in a stone mortar 
by command of Nicocreon, tyrant of Cyprus. 

2 Elea, a city of Lucania, in Italy. The manner in which Zeno was 
put to death is, according to Diogenes Laertius, uncertain. 

* This great and good man was accused of destroying the divinity of 
the Gods of his country. He was condemned, and died by drinking a 
glass of poison. * Tyrant of Sicily. 


was absurd for the son to have a beard, when his father 
had none.” He likewise robbed the temples of the silver 
tables, which, according to the ancient custom of Greece, 
bore this inscription, “To the good Gods,” saying “ he was 
willing to make use of their goodness ;” and, without the 
least scruple, took away the littie golden emblems of vic- 
tory, the cups and coronets, which were in the stretched- 
out hands of the statues, saying “he did not take, but re- 
ceive them; for it would be folly not to accept good things 
from the Gods, to whom we are constantly praying for 
favors, when they stretch out their hands towards us.” 
And, last of all, all the things which he had thus pillaged 
from the temples were, by his order, brought to the mar- 
ket-place and sold by the common crier; and, after he had 
received the money for them, he commanded every pur- 
chaser to restore what he had bought, within a limited 
time, to the temples from whence they came. Thus to his 
impiety towards the Gods he added injustice to man. 

XXXV. Yet neither did Olympian Jove strike him with 
his thunder, nor did A<sculapius cause him to die by tedi- 
ous diseases and a lingering death. He died ‘in his bed, 
had*funeral honors’ paid to him, and left his power, which 
he had wickedly obtained, as a just and lawful inheritance 
to his son. 

It is not without concern that I maintain a doctrine 
which seems to authorize evil, and which might probably 
give a sanction to it, if conscience, without any divine as- 
sistance, did not point out, in the clearest manner, the dif- 
ference between virtue and vice. Without conscience 
man is contemptible. For as no family or state can be 
supposed to be formed with any reason or discipline if 
there are no rewards for good actions nor punishment for 
crimes, so we cannot believe that a Divine Providence 
regulates the world if there is no distinction between the 
honest and the wicked. 

1 The common reading is, in tympanidis rogum inlatus est. This 
passage has been the occasion of as many different opinions concerning 
both the reading and the sense as any passage in the whole treatise. 
Tympanum is used for a timbrel or drum, tympanidia a diminutive 
of it. Lambinus says tympana ‘‘were sticks with which the tyrant 

used to beat the condemned.” P. Victorius substitutes tyrannidis for 


But the Gods, you say, neglect trifling things: the little 
fields or vineyards of particular men are not worthy their 
attention; and if blasts or hail destroy their product, Ju- 
piter does not regard it, nor do kings extend their care 
to the lower offices of government. This argument might 
have some weight if, in bringing Rutilius as an instance, 
I had only complained of the loss of his farm at Formiz ; 
but I spoke of a personal misfortune, his banishment.’ 

XXXVI. All men agree that external benefits, such as 
vineyards, corn, olives, plenty of fruit and grain, and, in 
short, every convenience and property of life, are derived 
from the Gods; and, indeed, with reason, since by our 
virtue we claim applause, and in virtue we justly glory, 
which we could have no right to do if it was the gift of 
the Gods, and not a personal merit. When we are hon- 
ored with new dignities, or blessed with increase of riches ; 
when we are favored by fortune beyond our expectation, 
or luckily delivered from any approaching evil, we return 
thanks for it to the Gods, and assume no praise to our- 
selves, But who ever thanked the Gods that he was a 
good man? We thank them, indeed, for riches, health, and 
honor. For these we invoke the all-good and all-power- 
ful Jupiter; but not for wisdom, temperance, and justice. 
No one ever offered a tenth of his estate to Hercules to be 
made wise. It is reported, indeed, of Pythagoras that he 
sacrificed an ox to the Muses upon having made some new 
discovery in geometry ;? but, for my part, I cannot believe 
it, because he refused to sacrifice even to Apollo at Delos, 
lest he should defile the altar with blood. But to return. 
it is universally agreed that good fortune we must ask 
of the Gods, but wisdom must arise from ourselves; and 
though temples have been consecrated to the Mind, to 
Virtue, and to Faith, yet that does not contradict their be- 

? The original is de amissa salute; which means the sentence of ban- 
ishment among the Romans, in which was contained the loss of goods 
and estate, and the privileges of a Roman; and in this sense L’ Abbé 
d’Olivet translates it. 

? The forty-seventh proposition of the first book of Euclid is unani- 
mously ascribed to him by the ancients. Dr. Wotton, in his Reflections 
upon Ancient and Modern Learning, says, ‘‘It is indeed a very noble 
proposition, the foundation of trigonometry, of universal and various use 
in those curious speculations about incommensurable numbers.” 


ing inherent in us. In regard to hope, safety, assistance, 
and victory, we must rely upon the Gods for them; from 
whence it follows, as Diogenes said, that the prosperity of 
the wicked destroys the idea of a Divine Providence. 

XXXVII. But good men have sometimes success. They 
have so; but we cannot, with any show of reason, attrib- 
ute that success to the Gods.  Diagoras, who is called the 
atheist, being at Samothrace, one of his friends showed 
him several pictures’ of people who had endured very dan- 
gerous storms; “See,” says he, “ you who deny a provi- 
dence, how many have been saved by their prayers to the 
Gods.” “Ay,” says Diagoras, “I see those who were saved, 
but where are those painted who were shipwrecked?” At 
another time, he himself was in a storm, when the sailors, 
being greatly alarmed, told him they justly deserved that 
misfortune for admitting him into their ship; when he, 
pointing to others under the like distress, asked them “if 
they believed Diagoras was also aboard those ships?” In 
short, with regard to good or bad fortune, it matters not 
what you are, or how you have lived. The Gods, like 
kings, regard not everything. What similitude is there 
between them? If kings neglect anything, want of knowl- 
edge may be pleaded in their defence ; but ignorance can- 
not be brought as an excuse for the Gods. 

XXXVI. Your manner of justifying them is some- 
what extraordinary, when you say that if a wicked man 
dies without suffering for his crimes, the Gods inflict a 
punishment on his children,-his children’s children, and all 
his posterity. O wonderful equity of the Gods! What 
city would endure the maker of a law which should con- 
demn a son or a grandson for a crime committed by the 
father or the grandfather ? 

Shall Tantalus’ unhappy offspring know 

No end, no close, of this long scene of. woe? 
When will the dive reward of guilt be o’er, 
And Myrtilus demand revenge no more ?* 

Whether the poets have corrupted the Stoics, or the 
Stoics given authority to the poets, I cannot easily deter- 
mine. Both alike are to be condemned. If those persons 

1 These votive tables, or pictures, were hung up in the temples. 
? This passage is a fragment from a tragedy of Attius. 


whose names have been branded in the satires of Hipponax 
or Archilochus’ were driven to despair, it did not proceed 
from the Gods, but had its origin in their own minds. 
When we see Aigistus and Paris lost in the heat of an im- 
pure passion, why are we to attribute it to a Deity, when 
the crime, as it were, speaks for itself? I believe that 
those who recover from illness are more indebted to the 
care of Hippocrates than to the power of Ausculapius ; 
that Sparta received her laws from Lycurgus’ rather than 
from Apollo; that those eyes of the maritime coast, Cor- 
inth and Carthage, were plucked out, the one by Critolaus, 
‘the other by Hasdrubal, without the assistance of any di- 
vine anger, since you yourselves confess that a Deity can- 
not possibly be angry on any provocation. 

XXXIX. But could not the Deity have assisted and 
preserved those eminent cities? Undoubtedly he could; 
for, according to your doctrine, his power is infinite, and 
without the least labor; and as nothing but the will is 
necessary to the motion of our bodies, so the divine will 
of the Gods, with the like ease, can create, move, and 
change all things. This you hold, not from a mere phan- 
tom of superstition, but on natural and settled principles 
of reason; for matter, you say, of which all things are 
composed and consist, is susceptible of all forms and 
changes, and there is nothing which cannot: be, or cease to 
be, in an instant ; and that Divine Providence has the com- 
mand and disposal of this universal matter, and conse- 
quently can, in any part of the universe, do whatever she 
pleases: from whence I conclude that this Providence ei- 
ther knows not the extent of her power, or neglects human 
affairs, or cannot judge what is best for us. Providence, 
you say, does not extend her care to particular men; there 

? Hipponax was a poet at Ephesus, and so deformed that Bupalus 
drew a picture of him to provoke laughter; for which Hipponax is said 
to have written such keen iambics on the painter that he hanged himself. 

Lycambes had promised Archilochus the poet to marry his daughter 
to him, but afterward retracted his promise, and refused her; upon which 
Archilochus is said to have published a satire in iambic verse that pro- 
yoked him to hang himself. 

2 Cicero refers here to an oracle approving of his laws, and promising 
Sparta prosperity as long as they were obeyed, which Lycurgus procured 
from Delphi. 



is no wonder in that, since she does not extend it to cities, 
or even to nations, or people. If, therefore, she neglects 
whole nations, is it not very probable that she neglects 
all mankind? But how can you assert that the Gods do 
not enter into all the little circumstances of life, and yet 
hold that they distribute dreams among men? Since you 
believe in dreams, it is your part to solve this difficulty. 
Besides, you say we ought to call upon the Gods. Those 
who call upon the Gods are individuals. Divine Provi- 
dence, therefore, regards individuals, which consequently 
proves that they are more at leisure than you imagine. 
Let us suppose the Divine Providence to be greatly busied ; 
that it causes the revolutions of the heavens, supports the 
earth, and rules the seas: why does it suffer so many Gods 
to be unemployed? Why is not the superintendence of 
human affairs given to some of those idle Deities which 
you say are innumerable? 

This is the purport of what I had to say concerning 
“the Nature of the Gods;” not with a design to destroy 
their existence, but merely to show what an obscure point 
it is, and with what difficulties an explanation of it is at- 

XL. Balbus, observing that Cotta had finished his dis- 
course—You have been very severe, says he, against a Di- 
vine Providence,-a doctrine established by the Stoics with 
piety and wisdom; but, as it grows too late, I shall defer 
my answer to another day. Our argument is of the great- 
est importance; it concerns our altars,’ our hearths, our 
temples, nay, even the walls of our city, which you priests 
hold sacred; you, who by religion defend Rome better 
than she is defended by her ramparts. This is a cause 
which, while I have life, I think I cannot abandon without 

There is nothing, replied Cotta, which I desire more 
than to be confuted. I have not pretended to decide this 
point, but to give you my private sentiments upon it; and 
am very sensible of your great superiority in argument. 

1 Pro aris et focis is a proverbial expression. The Romans, when 
they would say their all was at stake, could not express it stronger than 
by saying they contended pro aris et focis, for religion and their fire- 
sides, or, as we express it, for religion and property. 


No doubt of it, says Velleius; we have much to fear from 
one who believes that our dreams are sent from Jupiter, 
which, though they are of little weight, are yet of more 
importance than the discourse of the Stoics concerning 
the nature of the Gods. The conversation ended here, 
and we parted. Velleius judged that the arguments of 
Cotta were truest; but those of Balbus seemed to me to 
have the greater probability." 

1 Cicero, who was an Academic, gives his opinion according to the _ 
manner of the Academics, who looked upon probability, and a resem- 
blance of truth, as the utmost they could arrive at. © 





ae 4 





Tuts work was one of Cicero’s earlier treatises, though 
one of those which was most admired by his contempora- 
ries, and one of which he himself was most proud. It was 
composed 54 B.c. It was originally in two books: then it 
was altered and enlarged into nine, and finally reduced to 
six. With the exception of the dream of Scipio, in the 
last book, the whole treatise was lost till the year 1822, 
when the librarian of the Vatican discovered a portion of 
them among the palimpsests in that library. What he dis- 
covered is translated here; but it is in a most imperfect 
and mutilated state. 

The form selected was that of a dialogue, in imitation 
of those of Plato; and the several conferences were sup- 
posed to have taken place during the Latin holidays, 129 
B.c., in the consulship of Caius Sempronius, Tuditanus, 
and Marcus Aquilius. The speakers are Scipio Africanus 
the younger, in whose garden the scene is laid; Caius 
Leelius; Lucius Furius Philuss; Marcus Manilius; Spurius 
‘-Mummius, the brother of the taker of Corinth, a Stoic; 
Quintus Aflius Tubero, a nephew of Africanus; Publius 
Rutilius Rufus; Quintus Mucius Scevola, the tutor of Cic- 
ero; and Caius Fannius, who was absent, however, on the 
second day of the conference. 

In the first book, the first thirty-three pages are want- 
ing, and there are chasms amounting to thirty-eight pages 
more. In this book Scipio asserts the superiority of an 
active over a speculative career; and after analyzing and 
comparing the monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic 
forms of government, gives a preference to the first; al- 


though his idea of a perfect constitution would be one 
compounded of three kinds in due proportion. 

There are a few chasms in the earlier part of the second 
book, and the latter part of it is wholly lost. In it Scipio 
was led on to give an account of the rise and progress of 
the Roman Constitution, from which he passed on to the 
examination of the great moral obligations which are the 
foundations of all political union. 

Of the remaining books we have only a few disjointed 
fragments, with the exception, as has been before men- 
tioned, of the dream of Scipio in the sixth. 





Cicero introduces his subject by showing that men were not born for the 
mere abstract study of philosophy, but that the study of philosophic 
truth should always be made as practical as possible, and applicable to 
the great interests of philanthropy and patriotism. Cicero endeavors 
to show the benefit of mingling the contemplative or philosophic with 
the political and active life, according to that maxim of Plato—‘‘ Hap- 
py is the nation whose philosophers are kings, and whose kings are 

This kind of introduction was the more necessary because many of the 
ancient philosophers, too warmly attached to transcendental meta- 
physics and sequestered speculations, had affirmed that true philoso- 
phers ought not to interest themselves in the management of public 
affairs. ‘Thus, as M. Villemain observes, it was a maxim of the Epi- 
cureans, ‘‘ Sapiens ne accedat ad rempublicam” (Let no wise man 
meddle in politics). The Pythagoreans had enforced the same princi- 
ple with more gravity. Aristotle examines the question on both sides, 
and concludes in favor of active life. Among Aristotle’s disciples, a 
writer, singularly elegant and pure, had maintained the pre-eminence 
of the contemplative life over the political or active one, in a work 
which Cicero cites with admiration, and to which he seems to have 
applied for relief whenever he felt harassed and discouraged in public . 
business. But here this great*man was interested by the subject he 
discusses, and by the whole course of his experience and conduct, to 
refute the dogmas of that pusillanimous sophistry and selfish indul- 
gence by bringing forward the most glorious examples and achieve- 
ments of patriotism. In this strain he had doubtless commenced his 
exordium, and in this strain we find him continuing it at the point in 
which the palimpsest becomes legible. He then proceeds to introduce 
his illustrious interlocutors, and leads them at first to discourse on the 
astronomical laws that regulate the revolutions of our planet. From 
this, by a very graceful and beautiful transition, he passes on to the 
consideration of the best forms of political constitutions that had pre- 
yailed in different nations, and those modes of government which had 
produced the greatest benefits in the commonwealths of antiquity. 

This first book is, in fact, a splendid epitome of the political science of 
the age of Cicero, and probably the most eloquent plea in favor of 
mixed monarchy tobe found in all literature. 



I. [Wirnovr the virtue of patriotism], neither Caius 
Duilius, nor Aulus Atilius,’ nor Lucius Metellus, could 
have delivered Rome by their courage from the terror of 
Carthage; nor could the two Scipios, when the fire of the 
second Punic War was kindled, have quenched it in their 
blood; nor, when it revived in greater force, could either 
Quintus Maximus’ have enervated it, or Marcus Marcellus 
have crushed it; nor, when it was repulsed from the gates 
of our own city, would Scipio have confined it within the 
walls of our enemies. 

But Cato, at first a new and unknown man, whom all 
we who aspire to the same honors consider as a pattern 
to lead us on to industry and virtue, was undoubtedly at 
liberty to enjoy his repose at Tusculum, a most salubri- 
ous and convenient retreat. But he, mad as some people 
think him, though no necessity compelled him, preferred 
being tossed about amidst the tempestuous waves of pol- 
itics, even till extreme old age, to living with all imagina- 
ble luxury in that tranquillity and relaxation. I omit in- 
numerable men who have separately devoted themselves 
to the protection of our Commonwealth; and those whose 
lives are within the memory of the present generation I 
will not mention, lest any one should complain that I had 
invidiously forgotten himself or some one of his family. 
This only I insist on—that so great is the necessity of this 
virtue which nature has implanted in man, and so great 
is the desire to defend the common safety of our country, 
that its energy has continually overcome all the blandish- 
ments of pleasure and repose. 

II. Nor is it sufficient to possess this virtue as if it 
were some kind of art, unless we put it in practice. An 
art, indeed, though not exercised, may still be retained in 
knowledge; but virtue consists wholly in its proper use 

1 T,e., Regulus. 2 I. e., Fabius. 


and action. Now, the noblest use of virtue is the govern- 
ment of the Commonwealth, and the carrying-out in real 
action, not in words only, of all those identical theories 
which those philosophers discuss at every corner. For 
nothing is spoken by philosophers, so far as they speak 
correctly and honorably, which has not been discovered 
and confirmed by those persons who have been the found- 
ers of the laws of states. For whence comes piety, or 
from whom has religion been derived? Whence comes 
law, either that of nations, or that which is called the civ- 
il law? Whence comes justice, faith, equity? Whence 
modesty, continence, the horror of baseness, the desire 
of praise and renown? Whence fortitude in labors and 
perils? Doubtless, from those who have instilled some 
of these moral principles into men by education, and con- 
firmed others by custom, and sanctioned others by laws. 
Moreover, it is reported of Xenocrates, one of the sub- 
limest philosophers, that when some one asked him what 
his disciples learned, he replied, “'To do that of their own 
accord which they might be compelled to do by law.” 
That citizen, therefore, who obliges all men to those virtu- 
ous actions, by the authority of laws and penalties, to 
which the philosophers can scarcely persuade a few by 
the force of their eloquence, is certainly to be preferred to 
the sagest of the doctors who spend their lives in such 
discussions. For which of their exquisite orations is so 
admirable as to be entitled to be preferred to a well-con- 
stituted government, public justice, and good customs? 
Certainly, just as I think that magnificent and imperious 
cities (as Ennius says) are superior to castles and villages, 
so I imagine that those who regulate such cities by their 
counsel and authority are far preferable, with respect to 
real wisdom, to men who are unacquainted with any kind 
of political knowledge. And since we are strongly 
prompted to augment the prosperity of the human race, 
and since we do endeavor by our counsels and exertions 
to render the life of man safer and wealthier, and since we 
are incited to this blessing by the spur of nature herself, 
let us hold on that course which has always been pursued 
by all the best men, and not listen for a moment to the 
signals of those who sound a retreat so loudly that they 


sometimes call back-even those who have made considera- 
ble progress. 

If. These reasons, so certain and so evident, are op- 
posed by those who, on the other side, argue that the la- 
bors which must necessarily be sustained in maintaining , 
the Commonwealth form but a slight impediment to the 
vigilant and industrious, and are only a contemptible ob- 
stacle in such important affairs, and even in common stud- 
ies, offices, and employments. They add the peril of life, 
that base fear of death, which has ever been opposed by 
brave men, to whom it appears far more miserable to die 
by the decay of nature and old age than to be allowed 
an opportunity of gallantly sacrificing that life for their 
country which must otherwise be yielded up to nature. 

On this point, however, our antagonists esteem them- 
selves copious and eloquent when they collect all the ca- 
lamities of heroic men, and the injuries inflicted on them 
by their ungrateful countrymen. For on this subject they 
bring forward those notable examples among the Greeks; 
and tell us that Miltiades, the vanquisher and conqueror 
of the Persians, before even those wounds were healed 
which he had received in that most glorious victory, 
wasted away in the chains of his fellow-citizens that life 
which had been preserved from the weapons of the ene- 
my. They cite Themistocles, expelled and proseribed by 
the country which he had rescued, and forced to flee, not 
to the Grecian ports which he had preserved, but to the 
bosom of the barbarous power which he had defeated. 
There is, indeed, no deficiency of examples to illustrate 
the levity and cruelty of the Athenians to their noblest 
citizens — examples which, originating and multiplying 
among them, are said at different times to have abounded 
in our own most august empire. For we are told of the 
exile of Camillus, the disgrace of Ahala, the unpopularity 
of Nasica, the expulsion of Leenas,’ the condemnation of 

1 It is unnecessary to give an account of the other names here men- 
tioned; but that of Lenas is probably less known. He was Publius 
Popillius Leenas, consul 132 B.c., the year after the death of Tiberius 
Gracchus, and it became his duty to prosecute the accomplices of Grac- 
chus, for which he was afterward attacked by Caius Gracchus with such 

animosity that he withdrew into voluntary exile. Cicero pays a tribute 
to the energy of Opimius in the first Oration against Catiline, c. iii. 


Opimius, the flight of Metellus, the cruel destruction of 
Caius Marius, the massacre of our chieftains, and the 
many atrocious crimes which followed. My own history 
is by no means free from such calamities; and I imagine 
that when they recollect that by my counsel and perils 
they were preserved in life and liberty,they are led by 
that consideration to bewail my misfortunes more deeply 
and affectionately. But I cannot tell why those who sail 
over the seas for the sake of knowledge and experience! 
[should wonder at seeing still greater hazards braved in 
the service of the Commonwealth]. 

IV. [Since], on my quitting the consulship, I swore in 
the assembly of the Roman people, who re-echoed my 
words, that I had saved the Commonwealth, I console my- 
self with this remembrance for all my cares, troubles, and 
injuries. Although my misfortune had more of honor 
than misfortune, and more of glory than disaster; and I 
derive greater pleasure from the regrets of good men than 
sorrow from the exultation of the worthless. But even if . 
it had happened otherwise, how could I have complained, 
as nothing befell me which was either unforeseen, or more 
painful than I expected, as a return for my illustrious ac- 
tions? For I was one who, though it was in my power to 
reap more profit from leisure than most men, on account 
of the diversified sweetness of my studies, in which I had 
lived from boyhood—or, if any public calamity had hap- 
pened, to have borne no more than an equal share with the 
rest of my countrymen in the misfortune—I nevertheless 
did not hesitate to oppose myself to the most formidable 
tempests and torrents of sedition, for the sake of saving 
my countrymen, and at my own proper danger to secure 
the common safety of all the rest. For our country did 
not beget and educate us with the expectation of receiving 
no support, as I may call it, from us; nor for the purpose 
of consulting nothing but our convenience, to supply us 
with a secure refuge for idleness and a tranquil spot for 
rest; but rather with a view of turning to her own advan- 
tage the nobler portion of our genius, heart; and counsel; 
giving us back for our private service only what she can 
spare from the public interests. 

V. Those apologies, therefore, in which men take ref- 


uge as an excuse for their devoting themselves with more 
plausibility to mere inactivity do certainly not deserve to 
be listened to; when, for instance, they tell us that those 
who meddle with public affairs are generally good - for- 
nothing men, with whom it is discreditable to be com- 
pared, and miserable and dangerous to contend, especially 
when the multitude is in an excited state. On which ac- 
count it is not the part of a wise man to take the reins, 
since he cannot restrain the insane and unregulated move- 
ments of the common people. Nor is it becoming to a 
man of liberal birth, say they, thus to contend with such 
vile and unrefined antagonists, or to subject one’s self to 
the lashings of contumely, or to put one’s self in the way 
of injuries which ought not to be borne by a wise man. 
As if to a virtuous, brave, and magnanimous man there 
could be a juster reason for seeking the government than 
this—to avoid being subjected to worthless men, and to 
prevent the Commonwealth from being torn to pieces by 
them; when, even if they were then desirous to save her, 
they would not have the power. 

VI. But this restriction who can approve, which would 
interdict the wise man from taking any share in the gov- 
ernment beyond such as the occasion and necessity may 
compel him to? As if any greater necessity could pos- 
sibly happen to any man than happened to me. In which, 
how could I have acted if I had not been consul at the 
time? and how could I have been a consul unless I had 
maintained that course of life from my childhood which 
raised me from the order of knights, in which I was born, 
to the very highest station? You cannot produce extem- 
pore, and just when you please, the power of assisting a 
commonwealth, although it may be severely pressed by 
dangers, unless you have attained the position which en- 
ables you legally to do so. And what most surprises me 
in the discourses of learned men is to hear those persons 
who confess themselves incapable of steering the vessel of 
the State in smooth seas (which, indeed, they never learn- 
ed, and never cared to know) profess themselves ready to 
assume the helm amidst the fiercest tempests. For those 
men are accustomed to say openly, and indeed to boast 
greatly, that they have never learned, and have never taken 


the least pains to explain, the principles of either establish- 
ing or maintaining a commonwealth; and they look on 
this practical science as one which belongs not to men of 
learning and wisdom, but to those who have made it their 
especial study. How, then, can it be reasonable for such 
men to promise their assistance to the State, when they 
shall be compelled to it by necessity, while they are igno- 
rant how to govern the republic when no necessity press- 
es upon it, which is ‘a much more easy task? Indeed, 
though it were true that the wise man loves not to thrust 
himself of his own accord into the administration of pub- 
lic affairs, but that if circumstances oblige him to it, then 
he does not refuse the office, yet I think that this science 
of civil legislation should in no wise be neglected by the 
philosopher, because all resources ought to be ready to his 
hand, which he knows not how soon he may be called on 
to use. 

VII. Ihave spoken thus at large for this reason, because 
in this work I have proposed to myself and undertaken a 
discussion on the government of a state; and in order to 
render it useful, I was bound, in the first place, to do away 
with this pusillanimous hesitation to mingle in public af- 
fairs. If there be any, therefore, who are too much influ- 
enced by the authority of the philosophers, let them con- 
sider the subject for a moment, and be guided by the opin- 
ions of those men whose authority and credit are greatest 
among learned men; whom I look upon, though some of 
them have not personally governed any state,as men who 
have nevertheless discharged a kind of office in the repub- 
lic, inasmuch as they have made many investigations into, 
and left many writings concerning, state affairs. As to 
those whom the Greeks entitle the Seven Wise Men, I find 
that they almost all lived in the middle of public business. 
Nor, indeed, is there anything in which human virtue can 
more closely resemble the divine powers than in establish- 
ing new states, or in preserving those already established. 

VIII. And concerning these affairs, since it has been our 
good fortune to achieve something worthy of memoriai in 
the government of our country, and also to have acquired 
some facility of explaining the powers and resources of 
politics, we can treat of this subject with the weight of 


personal experience and the habit of instruction and illus- 
tration. Whereas before us many have been skilful in 
theory, though no exploits of theirs are recorded; and 
many others have been men of consideration in action, 
but unfamiliar with the arts of exposition. Nor, indeed, is 
it at all our intention to establish a new and self-invented 
system of government; but our purpose is rather to recall 
to memory a discussion of the most illustrious men of their 
age in our Commonwealth, which you and I, in our youth, 
when at Smyrna, heard mentioned by Publius Rutilius 
Rufus, who reported to us a conference of many days in 
which, in my opinion, there was nothing omitted that could 
throw light on political affairs. 

IX. For when, in the year of the consulship of Tudi- 
tanus and Aquilius, Scipio Africanus, the son of Paulus 
AXmilius, formed the project of spending the Latin holi- 
days at his country-seat, where his most intimate friends 
. had promised him frequent visits during this season of 
relaxation, on the first morning of the festival, his ne- 
phew, Quintus Tubero, made his appearance; and when 
Scipio had greeted him heartily and embraced him—How 
is it, my dear Tubero, said he, that I see you so early? 
For these holidays must afford you a capital opportunity 
of pursuing your favorite studies. Ah! replied Tubero, 
I can study my books at any time, for they are always 
disengaged ; but it is a great privilege, my Scipio, to find 
you at leisure, especially in this restless period of public 
affairs. You certainly have found me so, said Scipio, but, 
to speak truth, I am rather relaxing from business than 
from study. Nay, said Tubero, you must try to relax 
from your studies too, for here are several of us, as we 
have appointed, all ready, if it suits your convenience, to 
aid you in getting through this leisure time of yours. I 
am very willing to consent, answered Scipio, and we may 
be able to compare notes respecting the several topics that 
interest us. 

X. Be it so, said Tubero; and since you invite me to 
discussion, and present the opportunity, let us first exam- 
ine, before any one else arrives, what can be the nature 
of the parhelion, or double sun, which was mentioned in 
the senate. Those that affirm they witnessed this prodi- 


gy are neither few nor unworthy of credit, so that there 
is more reason for investigation than incredulity.’ 

Ah! said Scipio, I wish we had our friend Panztius 
with us, who is fond of investigating all things of this 
kind, but especially all celestial phenomena. As for my 
opinion, Tubero, for I always tell you just what I think, 
I hardly agree in these subjects with that friend of mine, 
since, respecting things of which we can scarcely form a 
conjecture as to their character, he is as positive as if he 
had seen them with his own eyes and felt them with his 
own hands. And I cannot but the more admire the wis- 
dom of Socrates, who discarded all anxiety respecting 
things of this kind, and affirmed that these inquiries con- 
cerning the secrets of nature were either above the efforts 
of human reason, or were absolutely of no consequence at 
all to human life. 

But, then, my Africanus, replied Tubero, of what credit 
is the tradition which states that Socrates rejected all 
these physical investigations, and confined his whole at- 
tention to men aud manners? For, with respect to him 
what better authority can we cite than Plato? in many 
passages of whose works Socrates speaks in such a man- 
ner that even when he is discussing morals, and virtues, 
and even public affairs and politics, he endeavors to inter- 
weave, after the fashion of Pythagoras, the doctrines of 
arithmetic, geometry, and harmonic proportions with them. 

That is true, replied Scipio; but you are aware, I be- 
lieve, that Plato, after the death of Socrates, was induced 
to visit Egypt by his love of science, and that after that 
he proceeded to Italy and Sicily, from his desire of un- 
derstanding the Pythagorean dogmas; that he conversed 
much with Archytas of Tarentum and Timeus of Locris; 

? This phenomenon of the parhelion, or mock sun, which so puzzled 
Cicero’s interlocutors, has been very satisfactorily explained by modern sci- 
ence. The parhelia are formed by the reflection of the sunbeams on a 
cloud properly situated. They usually accompany the corona, or lumi- 
nous circles, and are placed in the same circumference, and at the same 
height. Their colors resemble that of the rainbow; the red and yellow 
are towards the side of the sun, and the blue and violet on the other. 
There are, however, coronz sometimes seen without parhelia, and vice 
versd, Parhelia are double, triple, ete., and in 1629, a parhelion of five 
suns was seen at Rome, and another of six suns at Arles, 1666, 


that he collected the works of Philolaus; and that, find- 
ing in these places the renown of Pythagoras flourishing, 
he addicted himself exceedingly to the disciples of Pythag- 
oras, and their studies; therefore, as he loved Socrates 
with his whole heart, and wished to attribute all great 
discoveries to him, he interwove the Socratic elegance 
and subtlety of eloquence with somewhat of the obscurity 
of Pythagoras, and with that notorious gravity of his di- 
versified arts. 

XI. When Scipio had spoken thus, he suddenly saw 
Lucius Furius approaching, and saluting him, and em- 
bracing him most affectionately, he gave him a seat on his 
own couch. And as soon as Publius Rutilius, the worthy 
reporter of the conference to us, had arrived, when we had 
saluted him, he placed him by the side of Tubero. Then 
said Furius, What is it that. you are about? Has our 
entrance at all interrupted any conversation of yours? 
By no means, said Scipio, for you yourself too are in the 
habit of investigating carefully the subject which Tubero 
was a little before proposing to examine; and our friend 
Rutilius, even under the walls of Numantia, was in the 
habit at times of conversing with me on questions of the 
same kind. What, then, was the subject of your discus- 
sion? said Philus. We were talking, said Scipio, of the 
double suns that recently appeared, and I wish, Philus, to 
hear what you think of them. 

XII. Just as he was speaking, a boy announced that 
Leelius was coming to call on him, and that he had already 
left his house. Then Scipio, putting on his sandals and 
robes, immediately went forth from his chamber, and when 
he had walked a little time in the portico, he met Leelius, 
and welcomed him and those that accompanied him, name- 
ly, Spurius Mummius, to whom he was greatly attached, 
and C, Fannius and Quintus Sceevola, sons-in-law of Leeli- 
us, two very intelligent young men, and now of the ques- 
torian age.’ 

When he had saluted them all, he returned through the 
portico, placing Lelius in the middle; for there was in 
their friendship a sort of law of reciprocal courtesy, so 

1 There is a little uncertainty as to what this age was, but it was prob- 
ably about twenty-five. 


that in the camp Leelius paid Scipio almost divine honors, 
on account of his eminent renown in war and in private 
life; in his turn Scipio reverenced Leelius, even as a father, 
because he was older than himself. 

Then after they had exchanged a few words, as they 
walked up and down, Scipio, to whom their visit was ex- 
tremely welcome and agreeable, wished to assemble them 
in a sunny corner of the gardens, because it was still win- 
ter; and when they had agreed to this, there came in an- 
other friend, a learned man, much beloved and esteemed 
by all of them, M. Manilius, who, after having been most 
warmly welcomed by Scipio and the rest, seated himself 
next to Lelius. 

XIII. Then Philus, commencing the conversation, said : 
It does not appear to me that the presence of our new 
guests need alter the subject of our discussion, but onl 
that it should induce us to treat it more philosophically, 
and in a manner more worthy of our increased audience. 
What do you allude to? said Lelius; or what was the 
discussion we broke in upon? Scipio was asking me, re- 
plied Philus, what I thought of the parhelion, or mock sun, 
whose recent. apparition was so strongly attested. 

Lelius. Do you say then, my Philus, that we have suf- 
ficiently examined those questions which concern our own 
houses and the Commonwealth, that we begin to investi- 
gate the celestial mysteries ? 

And Philus replied: Do you think, then, that it does 
not concern our houses to know what happens in that vast 
home which is not included in walls of human fabrication, 
but which embraces the entire universe—a home which 
- the Gods share with us, as the common country of all in- 
telligent beings? Especially when, if we are ignorant of 
these things, there are also many great practical truths 
which result from them, and which bear directly on the 
welfare of our race, of which we must be also ignorant. 
And here I can speak for myself, as well as for you, Lee- 
lius, and all men who are ambitious of wisdom, that the 
knowledge and consideration of the facts of nature are by 
themselves very delightful. 

Lelius. I have no objection to the discussion, especial- 
ly as it is holiday-time with us. But cannot we have the 



pleasure of hearing you resume it, or are we come toa 
late ? 

Philus. We have not yet commenced the discussion, 
and since the question remains entire and unbroken, I 
shall have the greatest pleasure, my Lezlius, in handing 
over the argument to you. 

Lelius. No, {had much rather hear you, unless, indeed, 
Manilius thinks himself able to compromise the suit be- 
tween the two suns, that they may possess heaven as joint 
sovereigns without intruding on each other’s empire. 

Then Manilius said: Are you going, Lelius, to ridicule 
a science in which, in the first place, I myself excel; and, 
secondly, without which no one can distinguish what is 
his own, and what is another’s? But to return to the 
point. Let us now at present listen to Philus, who seems 
to me to have started a greater question than any of those 
that have engaged the attention of either Publius Mucius 
or myself. 

XIV. Then Philus said: I am not about to bring you 
anything new, or anything which has been thought over 
or discovered by me myself. But I recollect that Caius 
Sulpicius Gallus, who was a man of profound learning, as 
you are aware, when this same thing was reported to have 
taken place in his time, while he was staying in the house 
of Marcus Marcellus, who had been his colleague in the 
consulship, asked to see a celestial globe which Marcellus’s 
grandfather had saved after the capture of Syracuse from 
that magnificent and opulent city, without bringing to his 
own home any other memorial out of so great a booty; 
which I had often heard mentioned on account of the 
great fame of Archimedes; but its appearance, however, 
did not seem to me particularly striking. For that other 
is more elegant in form, and more generally known, which 
was made by the same Archimedes, and deposited by the 
same Marcellus in the Temple of Virtue at Rome. But 
as soon as Gallus had begun to explain, in a most scien- 
tific manner, the principle of this machine, I felt that the 
Sicilian geometrician must have possessed a genius supe- 
rior to anything we usually conceive to belong to our nat- 
ure. For Gallus assured us that that other solid and com- 
pact globe was a very ancient invention, and that the first 


model had been originally made by Thales of Miletus. 
That afterward Eudoxus of Cnidus, a disciple of Plato, 
had traced on its surface the stars that appear in the sky, 
and that many years subsequently, borrowing from Eudox- 
us this beautiful design and representation, Aratus had il- 
lustrated it in his verses, not by any science of astronomy, 
but by the ornament of poetic description. He added that 
the figure of the globe, which displayed the motions of the 
sun and moon, and the five planets, or wandering stars, 
could not be represented by the primitive solid globe; and 
that in this the invention of Archimedes was admirable, 
because he had calculated how a single revolution should 
maintain unequal and diversified progressions in dissimilar 
motions. In fact, when Gallus moved this globe, we ob- 
served that the moon succeeded the sun by as many turns 
of the wheel in the machine as days in the heavens. From 
whence it resulted that the progress of the sun was mark- 
ed as in the heavens, and that the moon touched the point 
~where she is obscured by the earth’s shadow at the instant 
the sun appears opposite.’ * * * 

XV. * * *?T had myself a great affection for this Gal- 
lus, and I know that he was very much beloved and es- 
teemed by my father Paulus. I recollect that when I was 
very young, when my father, as consul, commanded in 
Macedonia, and we were in the camp, our army was seized 
with a pious terror, because suddenly, in a clear night, the 
bright and full moon became eclipsed. And Gallus, who 
was then our lieutenant, the year before that in which he 
was elected consul, hesitated not, next morning, to state 
in the camp that it was no prodigy, and that the phenom- 
enon which had then appeared would always appear at 
certain periods, when the sun was so placed that he could 
not affect the moon with his light. 

1 Cicero here gives a very exact and correct account of the planeta- 
rium of Archimedes, which is so often noticed by the ancient astrono- 
mers. It no doubt corresponded in a great measure to our modern 
planetarium, or orrery, invented by the earl of that name. This elabo- 
rate machine, whose manufacture requires the most exact and critical 
science, is of the greatest service to those who study the revolutions of 
the stars, for astronomic, astrologic, or meteorologic purposes. 

? The end of the fourteenth chapter and the first words of the fifteenth 
are lost; but it is plain that in the fifteenth it is Scipio who is speaking. 


-But do you mean, said Tubero, that he dared to speak 
thus to men almost entirely uneducated and ignorant? 

Scipio. He did, and with great * * * for his opinion 
was no result of insolent ostentation, nor was his language 
unbecoming the dignity of so wise a man: indeed, he per- 
formed a very noble action in thus freeing his countrymen 
from the terrors of an idle superstition. 

XVI. And they relate that in a similar way, in the great 
war in which the Athenians and Lacedemonians contend- 
ed with such violent resentment, the famous Pericles, the 
first man of his country in credit, eloquence, and political 
genius, observing the Athenians overwhelmed with an ex- 
cessive alarm during an eclipse of the sun which caused 
a sudden darkness, told them, what he had learned in the 
school of Anaxagoras, that these phenomena necessarily 
happened at precise and regular periods when the body of 
the moon was interposed between the sun and the earth, 
and that if they happened not before every new moon, 
still they could not possibly happen except at the exact 
time of the new moon. And when he had proved this 
truth by his reasonings, he freed the people from their 
alarms; for at that period the doctrine was new and un- 
familiar that the sun was accustomed to be eclipsed by 
the interposition of the moon, which fact they say that 
Thales of Miletus was the first to discover. Afterward 
my friend Ennius appears to have been acquainted with 
the same theory, who, writing about 350° years after the 
foundation of Rome, says, “In the nones of June the sun 
was covered by the moon and night.” The calculations 
in the astronomical art have attained such perfection that 
from that day, thus described to us by Ennius and record- 
ed in the pontifical registers, the anterior eclipses of the 
sun have been computed as far back as the nones of July 
in the reign of Romulus, when that eclipse took place, in 
the obscurity of which it was affirmed that Virtue bore 
Romulus to heaven, in spite of the perishable nature which 
carried him off by the common fate of humanity. 

? There is evidently some error in the text here, for Ennius was born 
515 a.v.c.; was a personal friend of the elder Africanus, and died about 
575 a.u.c., so that it is plain that we ought to read in the text 550, 
not 350. 


XVII. Then said Tubero: Do not you think, Scipio, 
that this astronomical science, which every day proves so 
useful, just now appeared in a different light to you,’ * * * 
which the rest may see. Moreover, who can think any- 
thing in human affairs of brilliant importance who has 
penetrated this starry empire of the gods? Or who can 
think anything connected with mankind long who has 
learned to estimate the nature of eternity? or glorious 
who is aware of the insignificance of the size of the earth, 
even in its whole extent, and especially in the portion 
which men inhabit? And when we consider that almost 
imperceptible point which we ourselves occupy unknown 
to the majority of nations, can we still hope that our name 
and reputation can be widely circulated? ‘And then our 
estates and edifices, our cattle, and the enormous treasures 
of our gold and silver, can they be esteemed or denomi- 
nated as desirable goods by him who observes their per- 
ishable profit, and their contemptible use, and their uncer- 
tain domination, often falling into the possession of the 
very worst men? How happy, then, ought we to esteem 
that man who alone has it in his power, not by the law 
of the Romans, but by the privilege of philosophers, to en- 
joy all things as his own; not by any civil bond, but by 
the common right of nature, which denies that anything can 
really be possessed by any one but him who understands 
its true nature and use; who reqkons our dictatorships 
and consulships rather in the rank of necessary offices than 
desirable employments, and thinks they must be endured 
rather as acquittances of our debt to our country than 
sought for the sake of emolument or glory—the man, in 
short, who can apply to himself the sentence which Cato 
tells us my ancestor Africanus loved to repeat, “that he 
was never so busy as when he did nothing, and never less 
solitary than when alone.” 

For who can believe that Dionysius, when after every 
possible effort he ravished from his fellow-citizens their 
liberty, had performed a nobler work than Archimedes, 
when, without appearing to be doing anything, he mann- 
factured the globe which we have just been describing ? 

1 Two pages are lost here. Afterward it is again Scipio who is 


Who does not see that those men are in reality more soli- 
tary who, in the midst of a crowd, find no one with whom 
they can converse congenially than those who, without 
witnesses, hold communion with themselves, and enter 
into the secret counsels of the sagest philosophers, while 
they delight themselves in their writings and discoveries ? 
And who would think any one richer than the man who 
is in want of nothing which nature requires; or more 
powerful than he who has attained all that she has need of ; 
or happier than he who is free from all mental perturba- 
tion; or more secure in future than he who carries all his 
property in himself, which is thus secured from shipwreck ? 
And what power, what magistracy, what royalty, can be 
preferred to a wisdom which, looking down on all terres- 
trial objects as low and transitory things, incessantly di- 
rects its attention to eternal and immutable verities, and 
which is persuaded that though others are called men, 
none are really so but those who are refined by the appro- 
priate acts of humanity ? 

In this sense an expression of Plato or some other phi- 
losopher ‘appears to me exceedingly elegant, who, when a 
tempest had driven his ship on an unknown country and 
a desolate shore, during the alarms with which their ig- 
norance of the region inspired his companions, observed, 
they say, geometrical figures traced in the sand, on which 
he immediately told them to be of good cheer, for he had 
observed the indications of Man. A conjecture he de- 
duced, not from the cultivation of the soil which he beheld, 
but from the symbols of science, Yor this reason, Tubero, 
learning and learned men, and these your favorite studies, 
have always particularly pleased me. 

XVIII. Then Lelius replied: I cannot venture, Scipio, 
to answer your arguments, or to [maintain the discussion 
either against] you, Philus, or Manilius.’ * * * 

We had a friend in Tubero’s father’s family, who in 
these respects may serve him as a model. 

Sextus so wise, and ever on his guard. 

Wise and cautious indeed he was, as Ennius justly de- 
scribes him—not because he searched for what he could 
1 Two pages are lost here. 


never find, but because he knew how to answer those who 
prayed for deliverance from cares and difficulties. It is 
he who, reasoning against the astronomical studies of Gal- 
lus, used frequently to repeat these words of Achilles in 
the Iphigenia :’ 

They note the astrologic signs of heaven, 

Whene’er the goats or scorpions of great Jove, 

Or other monstrous names of brutal forms, 

Rise in the zodiac; but not one regards 

The sensible facts of earth, on which we tread, 

While gazing on the starry prodigies. 

He used, however, to say (and I have often listened to 
him with pleasure) that for his part he thought that Ze- 
thus, in the piece of Pacuvius, was too inimical to learning. 
He much preferred the Neoptolemus of Ennius, who pro- 
fesses himself desirous of philosophizing only in modera- 
tion; for that he did not think it right to be wholly de- 
voted to it. But though the studies of the Greeks have so 
many charms for you, there are others, perhaps, nobler and 
more extensive, which we may be better able to apply to 
the service of real life, and even to political affairs. As to 
these abstract sciences, their utility, if they possess any, 
lies principally in exciting and stimulating the abilities of 
youth, so that they more easily acquire more important ac- 

XIX. Then Tubero said: I do not mean to disagree 
with you, Lelius; but, pray, what do you call more impor- 
tant studies ? 

Leelius. I will tell you frankly, though perhaps you will 
think lightly of my opinion, since you appeared so eager 
in interrogating Scipio respecting the celestial phenomena; 
but I happen to think that those things which are every 
day before our eyes are more particularly deserving of our 
attention. Why should the child of Paulus A‘milius, the 
nephew of Aimilius, the descendant of such a noble family 
and so glorious a republic, inquire how there can be two 
suns in heaven, and not ask how there can be two senates 
in one Commonwealth, and, as it were, two distinct peo- 

? Both Ennius and Nevius wrote tragedies called ‘‘ Iphigenia.” Mai 
thinks the text here corrupt, and expresses some doubt whether there is 
a quotation here at all. 


ples? For, as you sce, the death of Tiberius Gracchus, 
and the whole system of his tribuneship, has divided one 
people into two parties. But the slanderers and the ene- 
mies of Scipio, encouraged by P. Crassus and Appius 
Claudius, maintained, after the death of these two chiefs, 
a division of nearly half the senate, under the influence of 
Metellus and Mucius. Nor would they permit the man’ 
who alone could have been of service to help us out of our 
difficulties during the movement of the Latins and their al- 
lies towards rebellion, violating all our treaties in the pres- 
ence of factious triumvirs, and creating every day some 
fresh intrigue, to the disturbance of the worthier and 
wealthier citizens. This is the reason, young men, if you 
will listen to ine, why you should regard this new sun 
with less alarm; for, whether it does exist, or whether it 
does not exist, it is, as you see, quite harmless to us. As 
to the manner of its existence, we can know little or noth- 
ing; and even if we obtained the most perfect understand- 
ing of it, this knowledge would make us but little wiser or 
happier. But that there should exist a united people and 
a united. senate is a thing which actually may be brought 
about, and it will be a great evil if it is not; and that it 
does not exist at present we are aware; and we see that 
if it can be effected, our lives will be both better and hap- 

XX. Then Mucius said: What, then, do you consider, 
my Leelius, should be our best arguments in endeavoring 
to bring about the object of your wishes ? 

Lelius. Those sciences and arts which teach us how 
we may be most useful to the State; for I consider that 
the most glorious office of wisdom, and the noblest proof 
and business of virtue. In order, therefore, that we may 
consecrate these holidays as much as possible to conversa- 
tions which may be profitable to the Commonwealth, let 
us beg Scipio to explain to us what in his estimation ap- 
pears to be the best form of government. Then let us 
pass on to other points, the knowledge of which may lead 
us, as I hope, to sound political views, and unfold the 
causes of the dangers which now threaten us. 

XXII. When Philus, Manilius, and Mummius had all ex- 

' He means Scipio himself. 


pressed their great approbation of this idea’ * * * T have 
ventured [to open our discussion] in this way, not only 
because it is but just that on State politics the chief man 
in the State should be the principal speaker, but also be- 
cause I recollect that you, Scipio, were formerly very much 
in the habit of conversing with Panztius and Polybius, 
two Greeks, exceedingly learned in political questions, and 
that you are master of many arguments by which you prove 
that by far the best condition of government is that which 
our ancestors have handed down to us. And as you, there- 
fore, are familiar with this subject, if you will explain to 
us your views respecting the general principles of a state 
(I speak for my friends as well as myself), we shall feel ex- 
ceedingly obliged to you. . 

XXII. Then Scipio said: I must acknowledge that there 
is no subject of meditation to which my mind naturally 
turns with more ardor and intensity than this very one 
which Lelius has proposed to us. And, indeed, as I see 
that in every profession, every artist who would distinguish 
himself, thinks of, and aims at, and labors for no other ob- 
ject but that of attaining perfection in his art, should not 
I, whose main business, according to the example of my 
father and my ancestors, is the advancement and right ad- 
ministration of government, be confessing myself more in- 
dolent than any common mechanic if I were to bestow on 
this noblest of sciences less attention and labor than they 
devote to their insignificant trades? However,I am nei- 
ther entirely satisfied with the decisions which the great- 
est and wisest men of Greece have left us; nor, on the oth- 
er hand, do I venture to prefer my own opinions to theirs. 
Therefore, I must request you not to consider me either 
entirely ignorant of the Grecian literature, nor yet disposed, 
especially in political questions, to yield it the pre-eminence 
over our own; but rather to regard me as a true-born Ro- 
man, not illiberally instructed by the care of my father, and 
inflamed with the desire of knowledge, even from my boy- 
hood, but still even more familiar with domestic precepts 
and practices than the literature of books. 

XXIII. On this Philus said: I have no doubt, my 
Scipio, that no one is superior to you in natural genius, 

1 There is again a hiatus. What follows is spoken by Leelius. 


and that you are very far superior to every one in the 
practical experience of national government and of impor- 
tant business. We are also acquainted with the course 
which your studies have at all times taken; and if,as you 
say, you have given so much attention to this science and 
art of politics, we cannot be too much obliged to Lelius 
for introducing the subject: for I trust that what we shall 
hear from you will be far more useful and available than 
all the writings put together which the Greeks have writ- 
ten-for us, 

Then Scipio replied: You are raising a very high expec- 
tation of my discourse, such as is a most oppressive bur- 
- den to a man who is required to discuss grave subjects. 

And Philus said: Although that may be a difficulty, 
my Scipio, still you will be sure to conquer it, as you al- 
ways do; nor is there any danger of eloquence failing you, 
when you begin to speak on the affairs of a common- 

XXIV. Then Scipio proceeded: I will do what you 
wish, as far as I can; and I shall enter into the discussion 
under favor of that rule which, I think, should be adopted 
by all persons in disputations of this kind, if they wish to 
avoid being misunderstood ; namely, that when men have 
agreed respecting the proper name of the matter under 
discussion, it should be stated what that name exactly 
means, and what it legitimately includes. And when that 
point is settled, then it is fit to enter on the discussion; 
for it will never be possible to arrive at an understand- 
ing of what the character of the subject of the discussion 
is, unless one first understands exactly what it is. Since, 
then, our investigations relate to a commonwealth, we must 
first examine what this name properly signifies. 

And when Leelius had intimated his approbation of this 
course, Scipio continued : 

I shall not adopt, said he, in so clear and simple a man- 
ner that system of discussion which goes back to first 
principles; as learned men often do in this sort of discus- 
sion, so as to go back to the first meeting of male and fe- 
male, and then to the first birth and formation of the first 
family, and define over and over again what there is in 
words, and in how many manners each thing is stated. 


For, as I am speaking to men of prudence, who have act- 
ed with the greatest glory in the Commonwealth, both in 
peace and war, I will take care not to allow the subject of 
the discussion itself to be clearer than my explanation of 
it. Nor have I undertaken this task with the design of 
examining all its minuter points, like a school-master; nor 
will I promise you in the following discourse not to omit 
any single particular. 

Then Leelius said: For my part, I am impatient for ex- 
actly that kind of disquisition which you promise us. 

XXV. Well, then, said Africanus, a commonwealth is a 
constitution of the entire people. But the people is not 
every association of men, however congregated, but the 
association of the entire number, bound together by the 
compact of justice, and the communication of utility. The 
first cause of this association is not so much the weakness 
of man as a certain spirit of congregation which naturally 
belongs to him. For the human race is not a race of iso- 
lated individuals, wandering and solitary ; but it is so con- 
stituted that even in the affluence of all things [and with- 
out any need of reciprocal assistance, it spontaneously 
seeks society ]. 

XXVI. [It is necessary to presuppose] these original 
seeds, as it were, since we cannot discover any primary 
establishment of the other virtues, or even of a common- 
wealth itself. These unions, then, formed by the principle 
which I have mentioned, established their head- quarters 
originally in certain central positions, for the convenience 
of the whole population; and having fortified them by 

natural and artificial means, they called this collection of 
houses a city or town, distinguished by temples and pub- 
lic squares. Every people, therefore, which consists of 
such an association of the entire multitude as I have de- 
scribed, every city which consists of an assemblage of the 
people, and every commonwealth which embraces every 
member of these associations, must be regulated by a cer- 
tain authority, in order to be permanent. 

This intelligent authority should always refer itself to 
that grand first principle which established the Common- 
wealth. It must be deposited in the hands of one supreme 
person, or intrusted to the administration of certain dele- 


gated rulers, or undertaken by the whole multitude. When 
the direction of all depends on one person, we call this in- 
dividual a king, and this form of political constitution a 
kingdom. When it is in the power of privileged delegates, 
the State is said to be ruled by an aristocracy; and when 
the people are all in all, they call it a democracy, or popu- 
Jar constitution. And if the tie of social affection, which 
originally united men in political associations for the sake 
of public interest, maintains its force, each of these forms 
of government is, I will not say perfect, nor, in my opin- 
ion, essentially good, but tolerable, and such that one may 
accidentally be better than another: either a just and wise 
king, or a selection of the most eminent citizens, or even 
the populace itself (though this is the least commendable 
form), may, if there be no interference of crime and cupid- 
ity, form a constitution sufficiently secure. 

XXVII. But in a monarchy the other members of the 
State are often too much deprived of public counsel and 
jurisdiction; and under the rule of an aristocracy the 
multitude can hardly possess its due share of liberty, since 
it is allowed no share in the public deliberation, and no 
power. And when all things are carried by a democracy, 
although it be just and moderate, yet its very equality is 
a culpable levelling, inasmuch as it allows no gradations 
of rank. Therefore, even if Cyrus, the King of the Per- 
sians, was a most righteous and wise monarch, I should 
still think that the interest of the people (for this is, as I 
have said before, the same as the Commonwealth) could 
not be very effectually promoted when all things depended 
on the beck and nod of one individual. And though at 
present the people of Marseilles, our clients, are governed 
with the greatest justice by elected magistrates of the 
highest rank, still there is always in this condition of the 
people a certain. appearance of servitude; and when the 
Athenians, at a certain period, having demolished their 
Areopagus, conducted all public affairs by the acts and 
decrees vf the democracy alone, their State, as it no longer 
contained a distinct gradation of ranks, was no longer able 
to retain its original fair appearance. 

XXVIII. I have reasoned thus on the three forms of 
government, not looking on them in their disorganized 


and confused conditions, but in their proper and regular 
administration. These three particular forms, however, 
contained in themselves, from the first, the faults and de- 
fects I have mentioned ; but they have also other danger- 
ous vices, for there is not one of these three forms of goy- 
ernment which has not a precipitous and slippery passage 
down to some proximate abuse. For, after thinking of 
that endurable, or, as you will have it, most amiable king, 
Cyrus—to name him in preference to any one else—then, 
to produce a change in our minds, we behold the barbar- 
ous Phalaris, that model of tyranny, to which the mo- 
narchical authority is easily abused by a facile and natural 
inclination. And, in like manner, along-side of the wise 
aristocracy of Marseilles, we might exhibit the oligarchical 
faction of the thirty tyrants which once existed at Athens, 
And, not to seek for other instances, among the same 
Athenians, we can show you that when unlimited power 
was cast into the hands of the people, it inflamed the fury 
of the multitude, and aggravated that universal license 
which ruined their State.’ * * * 

XXIX. The worst condition of things sometimes results 
from a confusion of those factious tyrannies into which 
kings, aristocrats, and democrats are apt to degenerate. 
For thus, from these diverse elements, there occasionally 
arises (as I have said before) a new kind of government. 
And wonderful indeed are the revolutions and periodical 
returns in natural constitutions of such alternations and 
vicissitudes, which it is the part of the wise politician to 
investigate with the closest attention. But to calculate 
their approach, and to join to this foresight the skill which 
moderates the course of events, and retains in a steady 
hand the reins of that authority which safely conducts the 
people through all the dangers to which they expose them- 
selves, is the work of a most illustrious citizen, and of al- 
most divine genius. 

There is a fourth kind of government, therefore, which, 
in my opinion, is preferable to all these: it is that mixed 
and moderate government which is composed of the three 
particular forms which I have already noticed. 

. XXX. Lelius. 1am not ignorant, Scipio, that such is 

? Again two pages are lost. 


your opinion, for I have often heard you say so. But I do 
not the less desire, if it is not giving you too much trou- 
ble, to hear which you consider the best of these three 
forms of commonwealths. For it may be of some use in 
considering’ * * * 

XXXII. * * * And each commonwealth corresponds to 
the nature and will of him who governs it. Therefore, in 
no other constitution than that in which the people exer- 
cise sovereign power has liberty any sure abode, than which 
there certainly is no more desirable blessing. And if it be 
not equally established for every one, it is not even liber- 
ty at all. And how can there be this character of equali- 
ty, I do not say under a monarchy, where siavery is least 
disguised or doubtful, but even in those constitutions in 
which the people are free indeed in words, for they give 
their suffrages, they elect officers, they are canvassed and 
solicited for magistracies; but yet they only grant those 
things which they are obliged to grant whether they will 
or not, and which are not really in their free power, though 
others ask them for them? For they are not themselves 
admitted to the government, to the exercise of public au- 
thority, or to offices of select judges, which are permitted 
to those only of ancient families and large fortunes. But 
in a free people, as among the Rhodians and Athenians, 
there is no citizen who’ * * * 

XXXII. * * * No sooner is one man, or several, elevated 
by wealth and power, than they say that * * * arise from 
their pride and arrogance, when the idle and the timid 
give way, and bow down to the insolence of riches. But 
if the people knew how to maintain its rights, then they 
say that nothing could be more glorious and prosperous 
than democracy; inasmuch as they themselves would be 
the sovereign dispensers of laws, judgments, war, peace, 
public treaties, and, finally, of the fortune and life of each 
individual citizen; and this condition of things is the only 
one which, in their opinion, can be really called a common- 
wealth, that is to say, a constitution of the people. It is 
on this principle that, according to them, a people often 
vindicates its liberty from the domination of kings and 

? Again two pages are lost. It is evident that Scipio is speaking 
again in cap. xxxi. ? Again two pages are lost. 


nobles; while, on the other hand, kings are not sought 
for among free peoples, nor are the power and wealth 
of aristocracies. They deny, moreover, that it is fair to 
reject this general constitution of freemen, on account of 
the vices of the unbridled populace; but that if the peo- 
ple be united and inclined, and directs all its efforts to 
the safety and freedom of the community, nothing can be 
stronger or more unchangeable; and they assert that this 
necessary union is easily obtained in a republic so consti- 
tuted that the good of all classes is the same; while the 
conflicting interests that prevail in other constitutions in- 
evitably produce dissensions; therefore, say they, when 
the senate had the ascendency, the republic had no stabil- 
ity; and when kings possess the power, this blessing is 
still more rare, since, as Ennius expresses it, 

In kingdoms there’s no faith, and little love. 

Wherefore, since the law is the bond of civil society, and 
the justice of the law equal, by what rule can the associa- 
tion of citizens be held together, if the condition of the 
citizens be not equal? For if the fortunes of men cannot 
be reduced to this equality—if genius cannot be equally 
the property of all—rights, at least, should be equal among 
those who are citizens of the same republic. For what is 
a republic but an association of rights? * * * 

XXXII. But as to the other political constitutions, 
these democratical advocates do not think they are wor- 
thy of being distinguished by the name which they claim. 
For why, say they, should we apply the name of king, the 
title of Jupiter the Beneficent, and not rather the title of 
tyrant, to a man ambitious of sole authority and power, 
lording it over a degraded multitude? For a tyrant may 
be as merciful as a king may be oppressive; so that the 
whole difference to the people is, whether they serve an in- 
dulgent master or a cruel one, since serve some one they 
must. But how could Sparta, at the period of the boasted 
superiority of her political institution, obtain a constant 
enjoyment of just and virtuous kings, when they necessa- 
rily received an hereditary monarch, good, bad, or indiffer- 
ent, because he happened to be of the blood royal? As to 

' Again two pages are lost. 


aristocrats, Who will endure, say they, that men should 
distinguish themselves by such a title, and that not by the 
voice of the people, but by their own votes? For how is 
such a one judged to be best either in learning, sciences, 
orarta?? * 9% 

XXXIV. * * * If it does so by hap-hazard, it will be 
as easily upset as a vessel if the pilot were chosen by lot 
from among the passengers. But if a people, being free, 
chooses those to whom it can trust itself—and, if it desires 
its own preservation, it will always choose the noblest— 
then certainly it is in the counsels of the aristocracy that 
the safety of the State consists, especially as nature has not 
only appointed that these superior men should excel the 
inferior sort in high virtue and courage, but has inspired 
the people also with the desire of obedience towards these, 
their natural lords. But they say this aristocratical State 
is destroyed by the depraved opinions of men, who, through 
ignorance of virtue (which, as it belongs to few, can be 
discerned and appreciated by few), imagine that not only 
rich and powerful men, but also those who are nobly born, 
are necessarily the best. And so when, through this pop- 
ular error, the riches, and not the virtue, of a few men has 
taken possession of the State, these chiefs obstinately re- 
tain the title of nobles, though they want the essence of 
nobility. For riches, fame, and power, without wisdom 
and a just method of regulating ourselves and command- 
ing others, are full of discredit and insolent arrogance; 
nor is there any kind of government more deformed than 
that in which the wealthiest are regarded as the noblest. 

But when virtue governs the Commonwealth, what can 
be more glorious? When he who commands the rest is 
himself enslaved by no lust or passion; when he himself 
exhibits all the virtues to which he incites and educates 
the citizens; when he imposes no law on the people which 
. does not himself observe, but presents his life as a liv- 

ing law to his fellow-countrymen; if a single individual 
could thus suffice for all, there would be no need of more; 
and if the community could find a chief ruler thus worthy 
of all their suffrages, none would require elected magis- 

* Here four pages are lost. 



It was the difficulty of forming plans which transferred 
the government from a king into the hands of many; and 
the error and temerity of the people likewise transferred 
it from the hands of the many into those of the few. Thus, 
between the weakness of the monarch and the rashness 
of the multitude, the aristocrats have occupied the mid- 
dle place, than which nothing can be better arranged; and 
while they superintend the public interest, the people nec- 
essarily enjoy the greatest possible prosperity, being free 
from all care and anxiety, having intrusted their security 
to others, who ought sedulously to defend it, and not allow 
the people to suspect that their advantage is neglected by 
their rulers. 

For as to that equality of rights which democracies so 
loudly boast of, it can never be maintained; for the peo- 
ple themselves, so dissolute and so unbridled, are always 
inclined to flatter a number of demagogues; and there is 
in them a very great partiality for certain men and digni- 
ties, so that their equality, so called, becomes most unfair 
and iniquitous. For as equal honor is given to the most 
noble and the most infamous, some of whom must exist in 
every State, then the equity which they eulogize becomes 
most inequitable—an evil which never can happen in those 
states which are governed by aristocracies. These rea- 

-sonings, my Leelius,and some others of the same kind, are 
usually brought forward by those that so highly extol this 
form of political constitution. 

XXXV. Then Lelius said: But you have not told us, 
Scipio, which of these three forms of government you 
yourself most approve. 

Scipio. You are right to shape your question, which of 
the three I most approve, for there is not one of them 
which I approve at all by itself, since, as I told you,I pre- 
fer that government which is mixed and composed of all 
these forms, to any one of them taken separately. But ifI 
must confine myself to one of these particular forms sim- 
ply and exclusively, I must confess I prefer the royal one, 
and praise that as the first and best. In this, which I here 
choose to call the primitive form of government, I find the 
title of father attached to that of king, to express that he 
watches over the citizens as over his children, and endeay- 



ors rather to preserve them in freedom than reduce them 
to slavery. So that it is more advantageous for those who 
are insignificant in property and capacity to be supported 
by the care of one excellent and eminently powerful man. 
The nobles here present themselves, who profess that they 
can do all this in much better style; for they say that 
there. is much more wisdom in many than in one, and at 
least as much faith and equity. And, last of all, come the 
people, who cry with a loud voice that they will render 
obedience neither to the one nor the few; that even to 
brute beasts nothing is so dear as liberty; and that all 
men who serve either kings or nobles are deprived of it. 
Thus, the kings attract us by affection, the nobles by talent, 
the people by liberty; and in the comparison it is hard to 
choose the best. 

Leelius, I think so. too, but yet it is impossible to de- 
spatch the other branches of the question, if you leave this 
primary point undetermined, 

XXXVI. Scipio. We must then, I suppose, imitate 
Aratus, who, when he prepared himself to treat of great 
things, thought himself in duty bound to begin with Ju- 


. Lelius. Wherefore Jupiter? and what is there in this 
discussion which resembles that poem ? 

Scipio. Why, it serves to teach us that we cannot bet- 
ter commence our investigations than by invoking him 
whom, with one voice, both learned and unlearned. extol as 
the universal king of all gods and men. 

How so? said Leelius. 

Do you, then, asked Scipio, believe in nothing which is 
not before your eyes? whether these ideas have been es- 
tablished by the chiefs of states for the benefit of society, 
that there might be believed to exist one Universal Mon- 
arch in heaven, at whose nod (as Homer expresses it) all 
Olympus trembles, and that he might be accounted both 
king and father of all creatures; for there is great au- 
thority, and there are many witnesses, if you choose to call 
all many, who. attest that all nations have unanimously rec- 
ognized, by the decrees of their chiefs, that nothing is bet- 
ter than a king, since they think that all the Gods are gov- 
erned by the divine power of one sovereign; or if we sus- 


pect that this opinion rests on the error of the ignorant, 
and should be classed among the fables, let us listen to 
those universal testimonies of erudite men, who have, as it 
were, seen with their eyes those things to the knowledge 
of which we can hardly attain by report. 

What men do you mean? said Leelius. 

' Those, replied Scipio, who, by the investigation of nat- 
ure, have arrived at the opinion that the whole universe 
[is animated] by a single Mind. * * * 

XXXVII. But if you please, my Leelius, I will biing 
forward evidences which are neither too ancient nor in 
any respect barbarous. 

Those, said Lelius, are what I want. 

Scipio. You are aware that it is now not four centuries 
- since this city of ours has been without kings. 

Lelius. You are correct; it is less than four centuries. 

Scipio. Well, then, what are four centuries in the age 
of a state or city ? is it a long time? 

Lelius. It hardly amounts to the age of maturity. 

Scipio. You say truly; and yet not four centuries have 
elapsed since there was a king in Rome. 

Lelius. And he was a proud king. 

Scipio. But who was his predecessor ? 

Lelius. He was an admirably just one; and, indeed, we 
must bestow the same praise on all his predecessors as far 
back as Romulus, who reigned about six centuries ago. 

Scipio. Even he, then,is not very ancient. 

Lelius. No; he reigned when Greece was already be- 
coming: old. 

Scipio. Agreed. ‘Was Romulus, then, think you, king 
of a barbarous people? 

Lelius. Why, as to that,if:we were to follow the ex- 
ample of the Greeks, who say that all people are either 
Greeks or barbarians, I am afraid that. we must confess 
that he was a king of barbarians; but if this name _be- 
longs rather to manners than to languages, then I believe 
the Greeks were just as barbarous as the Romans. 

Then Scipio said: But with respect to the present ques- 
tion, we do not so much need to inquire into the nation as 
into the disposition. For if intelligent men, at a period so 

? Here four pages are. lost. 


little remote, desired the government of kings, you will 
confess that I am producing authorities that are neither 
antiquated, rude, nor insignificant. 

XXXVIII. Then Lelius said: I see, Scipio, that you 
are very sufficiently provided with authorities; but with 
me, as with every fair judge, authorities are worth less 
than arguments. 

Scipio replied: Then, Leelius, you shall yourself make 
use of an argument derived from your own senses. 

Lelius. What senses do you mean ? 

Scipio. The feelings which you experience when at any 
time you happen to feel angry with any one. 

Lelius. That happens rather oftener than I could wish. 

Scipio. Well, then, when you are angry, do you permit 
your anger to triumph over your judgment? 

No, by Hercules! said Lelius; I imitate the famous Ar- 
chytas of Tarentum, who, when he came to his villa, and 
found all its arrangements were contrary to his orders, said 
to his steward, “Ah! you unlucky scoundrel, I would flog 
you to death, if it were not that I am in a rage with you.” 

Capital, said Scipio. Archytas, then, regarded unrea- 
sonable anger as a kind of sedition and rebellion of nature 
which he sought to appease by reflection.. And so, if we 
examine avarice, the ambition of power or of glory, or the 
lusts of concupiscence and licentiousness, we shall find a 
certain conscience in the mind of man, which, like a king, 
sways by the force of counsel all the inferior faculties and 
propensities; and this, in truth, is the noblest portion of 
our nature; for when conscience reigns, it allows no rest- 
ing-place to lust, violence, or temerity. 

Leelius. You have spoken the truth. 

Scipio. Well, then, does a mind thus governed and reg- 
ulated meet your approbation ? 

Delius. More than anything upon earth. 

Scipio. Then you would not approve that the evil pas- 
sions, which are innumerable, should expel conscience, and 
that lusts and animal propensities should assume an as- 
cendency over us? 

Lelius. For my part, 1 can conceive nothing more 
wretched than a mind thus degraded, or a man animated 
by a soul so licentious. 


Scipio. You desire, thén, that all the faculties of the 
mind should submit to a ruling power, and that conscience 
should reign over them all ? 

Lelius. Certainly, that is my wish. 

Scipio. How, then, can you doubt what opinion to form 
on the subject of the Commonwealth? in which, if the 
State is thrown into many hands, it is very plain that there 
will be no presiding authority; for if power be not united, 
it soon comes to nothing. 

XXXIX. Then Lelius asked: But what difference is 
there, I should like to know, between the one and the 
many, if justice exists equally in many ? 

And Scipio said: Since I see, my Lelius, that the au- 
thorities I have adduced have no great influence on you, I 
must continue to employ you yourself as my witness in 
proof of what I am saying. 

In what way, said Lelius, are you going to make me 
again support your argument ? 

_ Seipio. Why, thus: I recollect, when we were lately at 
Formie, that you told your servants repeatedly to obey the 
orders of more than one master only. — 

Lelius. To be sure, those of my steward. 

Scipio. What do you at home? Do you commit your 
affairs to the hands of many persons? 

Lelius. No,1I trust them to myself alone. 

Scipio. Well,in your whole establishment, is there any 
other master but yourself? 

Lelius. Not one. 

Scipio. Then I think you must grant me that, as re- 
spects the State, the government of single individuals, pro- 
vided they are just, is superior to any other. 

Lelius. You have conducted me to this conclusion, and 
I entertain very nearly that opinion. 

XL. And Scipio said: You would still further agree 
with me, my Leelius, if, omitting the common comparisons, 
that one pilot is better fitted to steer a ship, and a physi- 
cian to treat an invalid, provided they be competent men 
in their respective professions, than many could be, I should 
come at once to more illustrious examples. 

Lelius. What examples do you mean ? 

Scipio. Do not you observe that it was the cruelty and 


ong of one single Tarquin only that made the title of 
ing unpopular among the Romans ? 

Lelius. Yes, 1 acknowledge that. 

Scipio. You are also aware of this fact, on which I think 
I shall debate in the course of the coming discussion, that 
after the expulsion of King Tarquin, the people was trans- 
ported by a wonderful excess of liberty. Then innocent 
men were driven into banishment; then the estates of many 
individuals were pillaged, consulships were made annual, 
public authorities were overawed by mobs, popular appeals 
took place in all cases imaginable; then secessions of the 
lower orders ensued, and, lastly, those proceedings which 
tended to place all powers in the hands of the populace. 

Lelius. I must confess this is all too true. 

_ All these things now, said Scipio, happened during pe- 
riods of peace and tranquillity, for license is wont to pre- 
vail when there is little to fear, as in a calm voyage or a 
trifling disease. But as we observe the voyager and the 
invalid implore the aid of some one competent director, as 
soon as the sea grows stormy and the disease alarming, so 
our nation in peace and security commands, threatens, re- 
sists, appeals from, and insults its magistrates, but in war 
obeys them as strictly as kings; for public safety is, after 
all, rather more valuable than popular license. And in the 
most serious wars, our countrymen have even chosen the 
entire command to be deposited in the hands of some single 
chief, without a colleague; the very name of which magistrate 
indicates the absolute character of his power. For though 
he is evidently called dictator because he is appointed (dici- 
tur), yet do we still observe him, my Lelius, in our sacred 
books entitled Magister Populi (the master of the people). 

This is certainly the case, said Leelius. 
Our ancestors, therefore, said Scipio, acted wisely.’ * * * 
XLI. When the people is deprived of ‘a just king, as En- 
nius says, after the death of one of the best of monarchs, 
They hold his memory dear, and, in the warmth 
Of their discourse, they ery, O Romulus! 
O prince divine, sprung from the might of Mars 

To be thy country’s guardian! O our sire! 
Be our protector still, O heaven-begot! 

1 Two pages are missing here. 


Not heroes, nor lords alone, did they call those whom 
they lawfully obeyed; nor merely as kings did they pro- 
claim them; but they pronounced them their country’s 
guardians, their fathers, and their Gods. Nor, indeed, 
without cause, for they added, 

Thou, Prince, hast brought us to the gates of light. 

And truly they believed that life and honor and glory had 
arisen to them from the justice of their king. The same 
good-will would doubtless have remained in their descend- 
ants, if the same virtues had been preserved on the throne ; 
but, as you see, by the injustice of one man the whole of 
that kind of constitution fell into ruin. 

I see it indeed, said Lelius, and I long to know the 
history of these political revolutions both in our own 
Commonwealth and in every other. 

_ XLII. And Scipio said: When I shall have explained 
my opinion respecting the form of government which I 
prefer, I shall be able to speak to you more accurately re- 
specting the revolutions of states, though I think that such 
will not take place so easily in the mixed form of govern- 
ment which I recommend. With respect, however, to ab- 
solute monarchy, it presents an inherent and invincible 
tendency to revolution. No sooner does a king begin to 
be unjust than this entire form of government is demol- 

ished, and he at once becomes a tyrant, which is the worst- 

of all governments, and one very closely related to mon- 
archy. If this State falls into the hands of the nobles, 
which is the usual course of events, it becomes an aris- 
tocracy, or the second of the three kinds of constitutions 
which I have described; for it is, as it were, a royal—that 
is to say, a paternal—council of the chief men of the State 
consulting for the public benefit. Or if the people by it- 
self has expelled or slain a tyrant, it is moderate in its 
conduct as long as it has sense and wisdom, and while it 
rejoices in its exploit, and applies itself to maintaining 
the constitution which it has established. But if ever the 
people has raised its forces against a just king and robbed 
him of his throne, or, as has frequently happened, has 
tasted the blood of its legitimate nobles, and subjected 
the whole Commonwealth to its own license, you can im- 


-agine no flood or conflagration so terrible, or any whose 
violence is harder to appease than this unbridled insolence 
of the populace. 

XLII. Then we see realized that which Plato so viy- 
idly describes, if I can but express it in our language. It 
is by no means easy to do it justice in translation : how- 
ever, I will try. 

When, says Plato, the insatiate jaws of the populace 
are fired with the thirst of liberty, and when the people, 
urged on by evil ministers, drains in its thirst the cup, 
not of tempered liberty, but unmitigated license, then the 
magistrates and chiefs, if they are not utterly subservient 
and remiss, and shameless promoters of the popular licen- 
tiousness, are pursued, incriminated, accused, and cried 
down under the title of despots and tyrants. I dare say 
you recollect the passage. 

Yes, said Lelius, it is familiar to me. 

Scipio. Plato thus proceeds: Then those who feel in 
duty bound to obey the chiefs of the State are persecuted 
by the insensate populace, who call them voluntary slaves. 
But those who, though invested with magistracies, wish 
to be considered on an equality with private individuals, 
and those private individuals who labor to abolish all dis- 
tinctions between their own class and the magistrates, are 
extolled with acclamations and overwhelmed with honors, 

. 80 that it inevitably happens in a commonwealth thus rey- 
olutionized that liberalism abounds in all directions, due 
authority is found wanting even in private families, and 
misrule seems to extend even to the animals that witness 
it. Then the father fears the son, and the son neglects 
the father. All modesty is banished; they become far 
too liberal for that. No difference is made between the 
citizen and the alien; the master dreads and cajoles his 
scholars, and the scholars despise their masters. The 
young men assume the gravity of sages, and sages must 
stoop to the follies of children, lest they should be hated 
and oppressed by them. The very slaves even are under 
but little restraint; wives boast the same rights as their 
husbands; dogs, horses, and asses are emancipated in this 
outrageous excess of freedom, and run about so violent- 
ly that they frighten the passengers from the road. At 


length the termination of all this infinite licentiousness is, 
that the minds of the citizens become so fastidious and 
effeminate, that when they observe even the slightest ex- 
ertion of authority they grow angry and seditious, and 
thus the laws begin to be neglected, so that the people are 
absolutely without any master at all. 

Then Lelius said: You have very accurately rendered 
the opinions which he expressed. 

XLIV. Scipio. Now, to return to the argument of my 
discourse. It appears that this extreme license, which is 
the only. liberty in the eyes of the vulgar, is, according to 
Plato, such that from it as a sort of root. tyrants natur al- 
ly arise and spring up. For as the excessive power of an 
aristocracy occasions the destruction of the nobles, so this 
excessive liberalism of democracies brings after it the 
slavery of the people. Thus we find in the weather, the 
soil, and the animal constitution the most favorable con- 
ditions are sometimes suddenly converted by their excess 
into the contrary, and this fact is especially observable 
in political governments; and this excessive liberty soon 
brings the people collectively and individually to an ex- 
cessive servitude. For, as I said, this extreme liberty easi- 
ly introduces the reign of tyranny, the severest of all un- 
just slaveries. In fact, from the midst of this unbridled 
and capricious populace, they elect some one as a leader 
in opposition to their afflicted and expelled nobles: some: 
new chief, forsooth, audacious and impure, often insolent- 
ly persecuting those who have deserved well of the State, 
and ready to gratify the populace at his neighbor’s ex- 
pense as well as his own. Then, since the private condi- 
tion is naturally exposed to fears and alarms, the people 
invest him with many powers, and these are continued in 
his hands. Such men, like Pisistratus of Athens, will 
soon find an excuse for surrounding themselves with 
body-guards, and they will conclude by becoming tyrants 
over the very persons who raised them to dignity. If 
such despots perish by the vengeance of the better citi- 
zens, as is generally the case, the constitution is re-estab- 
lished; but if they fall by the hands of bold insurgents, 
then the same faction succeeds them, which is only anoth- 
er species of tyranny. And the same revolution arises 



from the fair system of aristocracy when any corruption 
has betrayed the nobles from the path of rectitude. Thus 
the power is like the ball which is flung from hand to 
hand: it passes from kings to tyrants, from tyrants to the 
aristocracy, from them to democracy, and from these back 
again to tyrants and to factions; and thus the same kind 
of government is seldom long maintained. 

XLV. Since these are the facts of experience, royalty 
is, in my opinion, very far preferable to the three other 
kinds of political constitutions. But it is itself inferior 
to that which is composed of an equal mixture of the three 
best forms of government, united and modified by one an- 
other. I wish to establish in a commonwealth a royal and 
pre-eminent chief. Another portion of power should be 
deposited in the hands of the aristocracy, and certain 
things should be reserved to the judgment and wish of 
the multitude. This constitution, in the first place, pos- 
sesses that great equality without which men cannot long 
maintain their freedom; secondly, it offers a great stabili- 
ty, while the particular separate and isolated forms easily 
fall into their contraries; so that a king is succeeded by a 
despot, an aristocracy by a faction, a democracy by a mob 
and confusion; and all these forms are frequently sacri- 
ficed to new revolutions. In this united and mixed consti- 
tution, however, similar disasters cannot happen without 
the greatest vices in public men. For there can be little 
to occasion revolution in a state in which every person is 
firmly established in his appropriate rank, and there are 
but few modes of corruption into which we can fall. 

XLVI. But I fear, Lelius, and you, my amiable and 
learned friends, that if I were to dwell any longer on this 
argument, my words would seem rather like the lessons of 
a master, and not like the free conversation of one who is 
uniting with you in the consideration of truth. I shall 
therefore pass on to those things which are familiar to all, 
and which I have long studied. And:in these matters I 
believe, I feel, and I affirm that of all governments there 
is none which, either in its entire constitution or the dis- 
tribution of its parts, or in the discipline of its manners, 
is comparable to that which our fathers received from our 
earliest ancestors, and which they have handed down to 


us. And since you wish to hear from me a development 
of this constitution, with which you are all acquainted, I 
shall endeavor to explain its true character and excellence. 
Thus keeping my eye fixed on the model of our Roman 
Commonwealth, I shall endeavor to accommodate to it all 
that I have to say on the best form of government. And 
by treating the subject in this way, I think I shall be able 
to accomplish most satisfactorily the task which Lelius 
has imposed on me. 

XLVII. Zelius. It is a task most, properly and pecul- 
iarly your own, my Scipio; for who can speak so well as 
you either on the subject of the institutions of our ances- 
tors, since you yourself are descended from most illustri- 
ous ancestors, or on that of the best form of a constitution 
which, if we possess (though at this moment we do not, 
still), when we do possess such a thing, who will be more 
flourishing in it than you? or on that of providing coun- 
sels for the future, as you, who, by dispelling two mighty 
perils from our city, have provided for its safety forever? 


XLVIII. As our country is the source of the greatest 
benefits, and is a parent dearer than those who have given 
us life, we owe her still warmer gratitude than belongs to 
our human relations. * * * 

Nor would Carthage have continued to flourish during 
six centuries without wisdom and good institutions. * * * 

In truth, says Cicero, although the reasonings of those 
men may contain most abundant fountains of science and 
virtue; still, if we compare them with the achievements 
and complete actions of statesmen, they will seem not to 
have been of so much service in the actual business of men 
as of amusement for their leisure. 



In this second book of his Commonwealth, Cicero gives us a spirited 
and eloquent review of the history and successive developments of 
the Roman constitution. He bestows the warmest praises on its early 
kings, points out the great advantages which had resulted from its 
primitive monarchical system, and explains how that system had been 
gradually broken up. In order to prove the importance of reviving 
it, he gives a glowing picture of the evils and disasters that had be- 
fallen the Roman State in consequence of that overcharge of demo- 
cratic folly and violence which had gradually gained an alarming pre- 
ponderance, and describes, with a kind of prophetic sagacity, the fruit 
of his political experience, the subsequent revolutions of the Roman 
State, which such a state of things would necessarily bring about. 


I. [Wuen, therefore, he observed all his friends kindled 
with the de]sire of hearing him, Scipio thus opened the 
discussion. I will commence, said Scipio, with a senti- 
ment of old Cato, whom, as you know, I singularly loved 
and exceedingly admired, and to whom, in compliance with 
the judgment of both my parents, and also by my own de- 
sire, I was entirely devoted during my youth; of whose 
discourse, indeed, I could never have enough, so much 
experience did he possess as a statesman respecting the 
republic. which he had so long governed, both in peace 
and war, with so much success.. There was also an ad- 
mirable propriety in his style of conversation, in which 
wit was tempered with gravity; a wonderful aptitude for 
acquiring, and at the same time communicating, informa- 
tion; and his life was in perfect correspondence and uni- 
son with his language. He used to say that the govern- 
ment of Rome was superior to that of other states for this 
reason, because in nearly all of them there had been single 
individuals, each of whom had regulated their common- 


wealth according to their own laws and their own ordi- 
nances. So Minos had done in Crete, and Lycurgus in 
Sparta; and in Athens, which experienced so many rev- 
olutions, first Theseus, then Draco, then Solon, then Clis- 
thenes, afterward many others; and, lastly, when it was 
almost lifeless and quite prostrate, that great and wise 
man, Demetrius Phalereus, supported it. But our Ro- 
man constitution, on the contrary, did not spring from the 
genius of one individual, but from that of many; and it 
was established, not in the lifetime of one man, but in the 
course of several ages and centuries, For, added he, there 
never yet existed any genius so vast and comprehensive as 
to allow nothing at any time to escape its attention; and 
all the geniuses in the world united in a single mind could 
never, within the limits of a single life, exert a foresight 
sufficiently extensive to embrace and harmonize all, with- 
out the aid of experience and practice. 

Thus, according to Cato’s usual habit, I now ascend in 
my discourse to the “origin of the people,” for I like to 
adopt the expression of Cato. I shall also more easily ex- 
ecute my proposed task if I thus exhibit to you our polit- 
ical constitution in its infancy, progress, and maturity, now 
so firm and fully established, than if, after the example of 
Socrates in the books of Plato, I were to delineate a mere 
imaginary republic. 

Il. When all had signified their approbation, Scipio re- 
sumed: What commencement of a political constitution 
can we conceive more brilliant, or more universally known, 
than the foundation of Rome by the hand of Romulus? 
And he was the son of Mars: for we may grant this much 
to the common report existing among men, especially as 
it is not merely ancient, but one also which has been wise- 
ly maintained by our ancestors, in order that those who 
have done great service to communities may enjoy the 
reputation of having received from the Gods, not only 
their genius, but their very birth. 

It is related, then, that soon after the birth of Romulus 
and his brother Remus, Amulius, King of Alba, fearing 
that they might one day undermine his authority, ordered 
that they should be exposed on the banks of the Tiber; 
and that in this situation the infant Romulus was suckled 


by a wild beast; that he was afterward educated by the 
shepherds, and brought up in the rough way of living and 
labors of the countrymen; and that he acquired, when he 
grew up, such superiority over the rest by the vigor of his 
body and the courage of his soul, that all the people who 
at that time inhabited the plains in the midst of which 
Rome now stands, tranquilly and willingly submitted to 
his government. And when he had made himself the 
chief of those bands, to come from fables to facts, he took 
Alba Longa, a powerful and strong city at that time, and 
slew its king, Amulius. 

Ul. Having acquired this glory, he conceived the design 
(as they tell us) of founding a new city and establishing a 
new state. As respected the site of his new city, a point 
which requires the greatest foresight in him who would 
lay the foundation of a durable commonwealth, he chose 
the most convenient possible position. For he did not ad- 
vance too near the sea, which he might easily have done 
with the forces under his command, either by entering the 
territory of the Rutuli and Aborigines, or by founding his 
citadel at the mouth ot the Tiber, where many years after 
Ancus Martius established a colony. But Romulus, with 
admirable genius and foresight, observed and perceived 
that sites very near the sea are not the most favorable 
positions for cities which would attain a durable prosperi- 
ty and dominion. And this, first, because maritime cities 
are always exposed, not only to many attacks, but to per- 
ils they cannot provide against. For the continued land 
gives notice, by many indications, not only of any regular 
approaches, but also of any sudden surprises of an ene- 
my, and announces them beforehand by the mere sound. 
There is no adversary who, on an inland territory, can ar- 
rive so swiftly as to prevent our knowing not only his ex- 
istence, but his character too, and where he comes from. 
But a maritime and naval enemy can fall upon a town 
on the sea-coast before any one suspects that he is about 
to come; and when he does come, nothing exterior indi- 
cates who he is, or whence he comes, or what he wishes; 
nor can it even be determined and distinguished on all cc- 
casions whether he is a friend or a foe. 

IV. But maritime cities are likewise naturally exposed 


to corrupt influences, and revolutions of manners. Their 
civilization is more or less adulterated by new languages 
and customs, and they import not only foreign merchan- 
dise, but foreign fashions, to such a degree that nothing 
can continue unalloyed in the national institutions. Those 
who inhabit these maritime towns do not remain in their 
native place, but are urged afar from their homes by 
winged hope and speculation. And even when they do 
not desert their country in person, still their minds are al- 
ways expatiating and voyaging round the world. 

Nor, indeed, was there any cause which more deeply 
undermined Corinth and Carthage, and at last overthrew 
them both, than this wandering and dispersion of their 
citizens, whom the passion of commerce and navigation 
had induced to abandon the cultivation of their lands and 
their attention to military pursuits. 

The proximity of the sea likewise administers to mari- 
time cities a multitude of pernicious incentives to luxury, 
which are either acquired by victory or imported by com- 
merece; and the very agreeableness of their position nour- 
ishes many expensive and deceitful gratifications of the 
passions. And what I have spoken of Corinth may be 
applied, for aught I know, without incorrectness to the 
whole of Greece. For the Peloponnesus itself is almost 
wholly on the sea-coast; nor, besides the Phliasians, are 
there any whose lands do not touch the sea; and beyond 
the Peloponnesus, the Afnianes, the Dorians, and the Dol- 
opes are the only inland people. Why should I speak of 
the Grecian islands, which, girded by the waves, seem all 
afloat, as it were, together with the institutions and man- 
ners of their cities? And these things, I have before no- 
ticed, do not respect ancient Greece only; for which of all 
those colonies which have been led from Greece into Asia, 
Thracia, Italy, Sicily, and Africa, with the single exception 
of Magnesia, is there that is not washed by the sea? Thus 
it seems as if a sort of Grecian coast had been annexed to 
territories of the barbarians. For among the barbarians 
themselves none were heretofore a maritime people, if we 
except the Carthaginians and Etruscans; one for the sake 
of commerce, the other of pillage. And this is one evi- 
dent reason of the calamities and revolutions of Greece, 




because she became infected with the vices which belong 
to maritime cities, which I just now briefly enumerated. 
But yet, notwithstanding these vices, they have one great 
advantage, and one which is of universal application, 
namely, that there is a great facility for new inhabitants 
flocking to them. And, again, that the inhabitants are en- 
abled to export and send abroad the produce of their na- 
tive lands to any nation they please, which offers them a 
market for their goods. 

VY. By what divine wisdom, then, could Romulus em- 
brace all the benefits that could belong to maritime cities, 
and at the same time avoid the dangers to which they are 
exposed, except, as he did, by building his city on the 
bank of an inexhaustible river, whose equal current dis- 
charges itself into the sea by a vast mouth, so that the 
city could receive all it wanted from the sea, and discharge 
its superabundant commodities by the same channel? And 
in the same river a communication is found by which it 
not only receives from the sea all the productions neces- 
sary to the conveniences and elegances of life, but those 
also which are brought from the inland districts. So that 
Romulus seems to me to have divined and anticipated 
that this city would one day become the centre and abode 
of a powerful and opulent empire; for there is no other 
part of Italy in which a city could be situated so as to be 
able to maintain so wide a dominion with so much ease. 

VI. As to the natural fortifications of Rome, who is so 
negligent and unobservant as not to have them depicted 
and deeply stamped on his memory? Such is the plan 
and direction of the walls, which, by the prudence of 
Romulus and his royal successors, are bounded on all 
sides by steep and rugged hills; and the only aperture 
between the Esquiline and Quirinal mountains is enclosed 
by a formidable rampart, and surrounded by an immense 
fosse. And as for our fortified citadel, it is so secured by 
© precipitous barrier and enclosure of rocks, that, even in 
that horrible attack and invasion of the Gauls, it remained 
impregnable and inviolable. Moreover, the site which he 
selected had also an abundance of fountains, and was 
healthy, though it was in the midst of a pestilential re- 
gion; for there are hills which at once create a current 


of fresh air, and fling an agreeable shade over the val- 

VII. These things he effected with wonderful rapidity, 
and thus established the city, which, from his own name 
Romulus, he determined to call Rome. And in order to 
strengthen his new city, he conceived a design, singular 
enough, and even a little rude, yet worthy of a great man, 
and of a genius which discerned far away in futurity the 
means of strengthening his power and his people. The 
young Sabine females of honorable birth who had come to 
Rome, attracted by the public games and spectacles which 
Romulus then, for the first time, established. as annual 
games in the circus, were suddenly carried off at the feast 
of Consus’ by his orders, and were given in marriage to 
the men of the noblest families in Rome. And when, on 
this account, the Sabines had declared war against Rome, 
the issue of the battle being doubtful and undecided, 
Romulus made an alliance with Tatius, King of the Sa- 
bines, at the intercession of the matrons themselves who 
had been carried off. By this compact he admitted the 
Sabines into the city, gave them a participation in the re- 
ligious ceremonies, and divided his power with their king. 

VIII. But after the death of Tatius, the entire govern- 
ment was again vested in the hands of Romulus, although, 
besides making Tatius his own partner, he had also elected 
some of the chiefs of the Sabines into the royal council, 
who on account of their affectionate regard for the people 
were called patres, or fathers. He also divided the people 
into three tribes, called after the name of Tatius, and his 
own name, and that of Locumo, who had fallen as his ally 
in the Sabine war; and also into thirty curiae, designated 
by the names of those Sabine virgins, who, after being 
carried off at the festivals, generously offered themselves 
as the mediators of peace and coalition. 

But though these orders were established in the life of 
Tatius, yet, after his death, Romulus reigned with still 
greater power by the counsel and authority of the senate. 

IX. In this respect he approved and adopted the prin- 
ciple which Lycurgus but little before had applied to the 
government of Lacedzeemon; namely, that the monarchical 

i ? A name of Neptune. 


authority and the royal power operate best in the govern- 
ment of states when to this supreme authority is joined 
the influence of the noblest of the citizens. 

Therefore, thus supported, and, as it were, propped up 
by this council or senate, Romulus conducted many wars 
with the neighboring nations in a most successful manner ; 
and while he refused to take any portion of the booty to 
his own palace, he did not cease to enrich the citizens. 
He also cherished the greatest respect for that institution 
of hierarchical and ecclesiastical ordinances which we still 
retain to the great benefit of the Commonwealth; for in 
the very commencement of his government he founded 
the city with religious rites, and in the institution of all 
public establishments he was equally careful in attending 
to these sacred. ceremonials, and associated with himself 
on these occasions priests that were selected from each of 
the tribes. He also enacted that the nobles should act as 
patrons and protectors to the inferior citizens, their natu- 
ral clients and dependants, in their respective districts, a 
measure the utility of which I shall afterward notice.— 
The judicial punishments were mostly fines of sheep and 
oxen; for the property of the people at that time consist- 
ed in their fields and cattle, and this cireumstance has 
given rise to the expressions which still designate real 
and personal wealth. Thus the people were kept in order 
- rather by mulctations than by bodily inflictions. 

X. After Romulus had thus reigned thirty-seven years, 
and established these two great supports of government, 
the hierarchy and the senate, having disappeared in a sud- 
den eclipse of the sun, he was thought worthy of being 
added to the number of the Gods—an honor which no 
mortal man ever was able to attain to but by a glorious 
pre-eminence of virtue. And this circumstance was the 
more to be admired in the case of Romulus because most 
of the great men that have been deified were so exalted 
to celestial dignities by the people, in periods very little 
enlightened, when fiction was easy and ignorance went 
hand-in-hand with credulity. But with respect to Romu- 
lus, we know that he lived less than six centuries ago, at 
a time when science and literature were already advanced, 
and had got rid of many of the ancient errors that had 


prevailed among less civilized peoples. For if, as we con- 
sider proved by the Grecian annals, Rome was founded in 
the seventh Olympiad, the life of Romulus was contem- 
porary with that period in which Greece already abound- 
ed in poets and musicians—an age when fables, except 
those concerning ancient matters, received little credit. 

For, one hundred and eight years after the promulga- 
tion of the laws of Lycurgus, the first Olympiad was es- 
tablished, which indeed, through a mistake of names, some 
authors have supposed constituted by Lycurgus likewise. 
And Homer himself, according to the best computation, 
lived about thirty years before the time of Lycurgus. We 
must conclude, therefore, that Homer flourished very many 
years before the date of Romulus. So that, as men had 
now become learned, and as the times themselves were not 
destitute of knowledge, there was not much room left for 
the success of mere fictions. Antiquity indeed has received 
fables that have at times been sufticiently improbable: but 
this epoch, which was already so cultivated, disdaining 
every fiction that was impossible, rejected’ * * * We may 
therefore, perhaps, attach some credit to this story of Rom- 
ulus’s immortality, since human life was at that time ex- 
perienced, cultivated, and instructed. And doubtless there 
was in him such energy of genius and virtue that it is not 
altogether impossible to believe the report of Proculus Ju- 
lius, the husbandman, of that glorification having befallen 
Romulus which for many ages we have denied to less il- 
lustrious men. At all events, Proculus is reported to have 
stated in the council, at the instigation of the senators, who 
wished to free themselves from all suspicion of having 
been accessaries to the ‘death of Romulus, that he had 
seen him on that hill which is now called the Quirinal, 
and that he had commanded him to inform the people 
that they should build him a temple on that same hill, and 
offer him sacrifices under the name of Quirinus. 

XI. You see, therefore, that the genius of this great 
man did not merely establish the constitution of a new 
people, and then leave them, as it were, crying in their 
cradle; but he still continued to superintend their educa- 

? About seven lines are lost here, and there is a great deal of corrup- 
tion and imperfection in the next few sentences. 


tion till they had arrived at an adult and wellnigh a ma- 
ture age. 

Then Lezlius said: We now see, my Scipio, what you 
meant when you said that you would adopt a new method 
of discussing the science of government, different from 
any found in the writings of the Greeks. For ‘that prime 
master of philosophy, whom none ever surpassed in elo- 
quence, I mean Plato, chose an open plain on which to 
build an imaginary city after his own taste—a city ad- 
mirably conceived, as none can deny, but remote enough 
from the real life and manners of men. Others, without 
proposing to themselves any model or type of government 
whatever, have argued on the constitutions and forms of 
states. You, on the contrary, appear to be about to unite 
these two methods; for, as far as you have gone, you seem 
to prefer attributing to others your discoveries, rather than 
start new theories under your own name and authority, 
as Socrates has done in the writings of Plato. Thus, in 
speaking of the site of Rome, you refer to a systematic 
policy, to the acts of Romulus, which were many of them 
the result of necessity or chance; and you do not allow 
your discourse to run riot over many states, but you fix 
and concentrate it on our own Commonwealth. Proceed, 
then, in the course you have adopted; for I see that you 
intend to examine our other kings, in your pursuit of a 
perfect republic, as it were. 

XII. Therefore, said Scipio, when that senate of Romnu- 
lus which was composed of the nobles, whom the king him- 
self respected so highly that he designated them patres, or 
fathers, and their children patricians, attempted after the 
death of Romulus to conduct the government without a 
king, the people would not suffer it, but, amidst their re- 
gret for Romulus, desisted not from demanding a fresh 
monarch. The nobles then prudently resolved to estab- 
lish an interregnum—a new political form, unknown to oth- 
er nations. It was not without its use, however, since, dur- 
ing the interval which elapsed before the definitive nom- 
ination of the new king, the State was not left without a 
ruler, nor subjected too long to the same governor, nor 
exposed to the fear lest some one, in consequence of the 
prolonged enjoyment of power, should become more un- 


willing to lay it aside, or more powerful if he wished to 
secure it permanently for himself. At which time this 
new nation discovered a political provision which had es- 
caped the Spartan Lycurgus, who conceived that the mon- 
arch ought not to be elective—if indeed it is true that this 
depended on Lycurgus— but that it was better for the 
Lacedzmonians to acknowledge as their sovereign the next 
heir of the race of Hercules, whoever he might be: but our 
Romans, rude as they were, saw the importance of appoint- 
ing a king, not for his family, but for his virtue and ex- 

XIII. And fame having recognized these eminent qual- 
ities in Numa Pompilius, the Roman people, without par- 
tiality for their own citizens, committed itself, by the coun- 
sel of the senators, to a king of foreign origin, and sum- 
moned this Sabine from the city of Cures to Rome, that 
he might reign over them. Numa, although the people 
had proclaimed him king in their Comitia Curiata, did 
nevertheless himself pass a Lex Curiata respecting his 
own authority; and observing that the institutions of 
Romulus had too much excited the military propensities 
of the people, he judged it expedient to recall them from 
this habit of warfare by other employments. 

XIV. And, in the first place, he divided severally among 
the citizens the lands which Romulus had conquered, and 
taught them that even without the aid of pillage and dev- 
astation they could, by the cultivation of t